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3 1833 01402 3227 



And their Connections, 



" Sing, sing in praise of Men of Kent 
So loyal, brave, and free ; 
'Mongst Britain's race, if one surpass, 
A Man of Kent is he." 

(Chorus from " The Brave Men of Kent.") 







Frontispiece, SUMMERHILL, presented by Miss Hedges, Wallingford Castle. 

SUMMERHILL, from old print of about 1770 to face p. 39 

SEAL CHURCH.presentedbyMissLouisaWoodgate, St. Leonards „ ,, 164 

RIVERHILL, presented by Miss Louisa Woodgate, St. Leonards ,. „ 272 
FRANCIS WOODGATE of Underriver. presented by Mrs. 

Grantham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288 

UNDERRIVER. near Sevenoaks. presented by Mrs. Grantham , 290 

WILLIAM WOODGATE of Summerhill 317 


WILLIAM F. WOODGATE of Summerhill. presented by Mrs. 

Veasey . . . . . . . . . . . . , 330 

ANNA ALLNUTT. wife of W. F. Woodgate of Summerhill. 

presented by Mrs. Veasey .. .. .. .. 332 

WILLIAM WOODGATE of Swaylands. presented by Mrs. Veasey .. „ 3^3 

HARRIOTT WEST, wife of William Woodgate of Swaylands. 

presented by Mrs. Veasey .. .. .. .. .. ., ,, 384 

SWAYLANDS.Penshurst. presented by Mrs. Veasey 385 

OLD HAWKWELL. Pembury. now demolished 428 

SPRING GROVE. Pembury. now demolished 436 

PEMBURY HALL, presented by the Rev. R. S. S. Woodgate „ „ 468 

PEMBURY HALL. Drawing Room, presented by the Rev. 

R. S. S. Woodgate. the owner . . . . . . , „ 469 

PEMBURY HALL. Old Oak Staircase, presented by the 

Rev. R. S. S. Woodgate, the owner .. 471 

REV. R.S.S. WOODGATE, of Pembury Hall, presented by himself „ .. 473 

MRS. R. S. S. WOODGATE (lately deceased) presented by the 

Rev. R. S. S. Woodgate 475 

Besides those whose names are above mentioned as donors of particular pictures, 
we are much indebted to the following subscribers who undert 5ok to defray the cost 
of illustrations : — 

Mr. Charles Woodgate (Natal Police) . three illustrations ; Mrs. Edwin Woodgate, 
" Riverhill," Oxton. one illustration ; and Miss Rose Woodgate. Eastbourne, one 
illustration ; also to Mrs. Woodgate. of Rochester, for obtaining the photographs of 
Swaylands and Summerhill. the original paintings of which are in her possession. 




Chap. Page. 

I. Origin and Early Ancestors 6 

II. Stonewall Period (1590-1718) 22 

III. Early Sununerhill Period 37 

IV. Mountfield (1732-1790) 45 

V. Acton 65 

VI. Ashburnham of Broomham 76 

VII. Humphry of Seal 158 

VIII. Woodgate of Riverhill, Sevenoaks . . . . . . 269 

IX. Rideout of Westmeston 291 

X. Rose, Sarah, and Anne Woodgate, of Tonbridge (1790- 

1827) 298 

XI. Later Summerhill Period (1769-1816) 317 

XII. Allnutt of South Park, Penshurst 388 

XIII. Nouaille of Great Ness, Sevenoaks . . . . . . 404 

XIV. Woodgate of Spring Grove, Pembiuy 428 

XV. West of Postern Park 437 

XVI. Brisco of Coghurst, Hastings . . 449 

XVII. Woodgate of Pembury 468 

XVIII, Woodgate of Hawkhurst and Horsham 476 

XIX. Woodgate of Brenchley and Hever 488 

XX. Miscellaneous . . 497 


For complete Index see end of book. 


I. Early Woodgate Pedigree . . 

n. Woodgate of Penshurst 

in. Woodgate of Stonewall and Chidingstone 

IV. Crompe of Maidstone 

V. Woodgate of Summerhill and Mountfield 

VI. Woodgate of Riverhill 

VII. Woodgate of Pembury 

to face page 7 



As the following pages were printed in detacliments, it was found impossible 
to refer to succeeding pages by their number without resorting to the device of a 
reference sheet. The following table accordingly indicates the page to which refer- 
ence is made. 

rence on 

page 13 












is to 

page 476 


Reference on page 182 is to page 306 




. 377 


. 422 


. 394 

232 , 



, 492 


. 455 


. 319 






. 415 


It has been represented to us that Woodgates have never filled high offices 
of state, nor distinguished themselves in literature, in law, or in politics, and that 
consequently any publication of their history is not only unnecessary but almost 
presumptuous. When these objections were made, it had not perhaps been con- 
sidered that a work of this nature might be valuable precisely because the Wood- 
gates have never been more than plain country gentlemen, living on their own 
estates. History relates the actions of kings, statesmen, and generals : but 
when it is desired to learn the manner in which the landed classes and lesser orders 
of society lived, it is to such works as the present that one must turn, where it is 
recorded in their own words. 

In editing these family letters, much has been allowed to remain which would 
have been excised had the book been intended for publication and not merely for 
private circulation among the family. The letters were written in the full intimacy 
of relationship, and the writers never for one moment dreamed that their letters 
would be laid before their descendants in this manner. Every allowance must 
therefore be made. 

As to the propriety of reproducing private letters, we cannot do better than 
to express our opinion in the words of Miss Edgeworth. 

" Next to biography written by the person himself," she observes, " his private 
letters afford the best means of obtaining an insight into character. But some 
readers, and those whose opinion is most honourable, will recoil with horror at the 
idea of publishing letters . . . Without need of my assertions, every reader 
of discernment will at once perceive that these letters are not manufactured 
for the public, but written in the fulness of the heart and in the careless ease of 
private correspondence. Such are the only letters worth seeing, yet how few of such 
are fit to meet the public eye ! There can scarcely be better proof of any man's 
consistency and singleheartedness than that his best friends can dare to lay before 
the public his really private correspondence. Considered in this light, I trust that 
in producing my father's letters to various persons, of different and distant periods 
of his life, I shall do honour to his memory with all impartial judges." 

The old spelling of the letters has been retained, but it was found necessary 
from considerations of space, to excise a large number of passages relating to trivial 
or conventional matters, such as the usual messages at the end of a letter, enquiries 
after health, apologies for not writing sooner, and such hke, which are to be found 
in present day letters — passages not uninteresting in themselves, but forbidden 
insertion by exigencies of space and constant repetitions. It is interesting to 
recognise the same traits of character brought out in the living descendants of the 

It is to be observed that the letters, however old, are in one sense singularly 
up-to-date. We learn, for example, that in 1826 " Mr. Nouaille was gratified by 
an exhibition of fossils and minerals, the chief merit of which consisted in their 
being brought from the North Pole and presented by Captain Parry." This 
forcibly reminds us of Captain Peary, and a controversy which has agitated 
scientists and the public for weeks. Again, Mrs. Brisco's letter on the Budget 
on p. 465 might have been written last November, instead of in the year 1852 ; and 
we are all familiar with the opinion, advanced by the Nouailles, that their " ruin 
was due to Free Trade." 

We desire to point out that our compilations might never have seen the light of 
day but for the accession of these letters. It was impossible in a single volume to 
attempt to treat the ancient and modern history alike exhaustively without spoiling 
both ; the former has therefore been sacrificed to the latter, and little more than 
an outhne of the earher history has been attempted, though our researches 
were in their way considerable. We have not attempted to bring the work up to 
date, except to a certain extent by means of the genealogical tables. To endeavour 
to portray the later history of the family is far too delicate a task for us to essay, 
and we might add that the result would (in our opinion) be far less interesting than 
the old letters and correspondence which would be thereby displaced. The different 
members of the family, however, may very well continue the records of their own 
branches in the blank pages which have been inserted at the end for that purpose. 

Finally we desire to thank the family for the support they have given us. 
We had hoped to defray the expenses of printing from the subscriptions, and were 
sorry to find that we had not a sufficient number of subscribers to enable us to do so, 
with the result that there is a deficiency. Our first idea was to delay printing until the 
required number of subscribers was obtained, but some of our older supporters (and 
we ourselves) were so anxious to see the work completed that we decided not to wait, 
but to print at once and trust to our losses being subsequently made good. 

We are especially indebted to Mr. Arthur Boissier, of Penshurst, and Mrs. 
George Woodgate, of Pembury, and the Revd. W. J. Rudge, of Ardnave, Basset, 
for the loan of correspondence, and desire to express our thanks to all those who 
have in any way assisted us. Foremost among these was the late Miss Ellen Wood- 
gate, of Ravenscourt Park, London, to whose sympathy and advice we owe a 
debt which can never, alas ! be repaid. We are glad to feel that though she has 
not lived to see these pages in type, the perusal of the greater part of them in manu- 
script afforded her some gratification in her last days. We commit this work to 
our readers, trusting to their sympathy to excuse the many inevitable errors and 
imperfections which pressure of time and of other work must have brought about. 

Tydd St. Giles' Rectory, 


January, 1910. 



The pedigree of the Woodgates in Burke's Landed Gentry is prefaced with 
the remark that " the family is an old Kentish one, said to be established there 
since the twelfth century." However this may be, or whatever Burke's authority, 
it certainly is in accordance with the traditions of the family which is stated to be 
of Saxon ancestry. 

But traditions, however interesting, yield in value to documentary evidence 
of which there is no lack. In the reign of Edward I (1271) there were, at one and 
the same time, Woodgates in Kent ; in Warwickshire ; a little later they are found 
in Buckinghamshire ; much earlier (1190) in Dorsetshire ; in Middlesex and London ; 
in Essex ; and at a very early period in Sussex. The list is by no means 
exhaustive, but is sufficiently long to show the futility of recording the 
ancestry of every chance Woodgate as a valuable piece of family history, when 
probably his family and that of the Woodgates of Summerhill had no common 

The Essex Woodgates, for example, have a pedigree extending back about 
two hundred and fifty years which with little difficulty might have been carried 
back much further. They had large families. This branch alone will therefore 
account for many Woodgates now living ; the coat armour, too, is the same as that 
of the Kentish family (though the crest differs). We shall therefore confine ourselves 
to Kent and Sussex. 

The origin of the name itself should inform us that those who bear it are likely 
to be numerous. Woodgates evidently dwelt by the gate or hatch leading into 
one of the numerous woods or deer-forests. John-at-the- Woodgate would be such 
a man's description, and when surnames came in, Woodgate would be the one adopted. 
There were many atte Woodgate's (atte--at the), de Woodgate's, de la Woodgate's, 
and so on. The families of Yates, by their number, testify to the frequency of the 
" yate," the old provincialism for gate. It is interesting, too, to read of the abbey 
of Tarente, founded by the Bishop of Durham and endowed by WilHam de Wode- 
gate with his manor of Wodegate. The prior of Bromore adds to it the advowson 
of the Church of St. Nicholas Woodgate ; and Kainel de Wodegate grants lands 
there (1242). 

The name itself is spelt in every conceivable manner, Wodegate, Wodgate, 
Wudgate, Odgate, Wudigate, Wudyate, Wodehyate, Wouldgate, Wolgate, Wold- 
gate, Wodegat, are but a few ; literary curiosity could extend the list almost 

The origin of the family was borne in mind when the arms were chosen. The 
squirrel — the denizen of the wood — the acorns outlined against the azure of the 
chevron, the blue sky ; the livery colour, green, like that of the foliage ; what could 
have been more appropriate ? 


The earher history of the Kentish family is somewhat vague, though many 
documents exist to elucidate it. During the time that was spent in the collection 
and arrangement of materials for this work, the examination of the older records 
was sacrificed to that of more modem ones, and our information for this period is 
very inadequate. Yet we have no doubt whatever but that anyone gifted with 
leisure and patience could construct, without any great difficulty, a connected 
pedigree almost as far back as the Conquest. Though our researches for this 
period were slight, we must make some use of the material that was obtained. 

.osO. 1)8 .incr ;t>tfaf 


i QbftD ^ofih tiiiv bevi(ic 



U:,T1 (.IIIYZ ^ 


.tioi OS .Tud /;■.(.! ed 






Jolin Woodgate, juu., of Chidingston( 

William \Voodgate=p 
of Chidingstoue, 
living 1488 ; bur. 
in Parish Church. 

John Wood-=pThomasin 
gate of Chid- ; Wickende 
ingstone, ; will dated 
living 1523. j living 152 

William Wood-T= 
gate of Wood- 
gate, Chiding- 
stone, steward of 
the lands of the 
Duke of Buck- 
ingham. Will 
dated 1543. 

ohu W^oodgate=FJoan 

Edenbridge ; 
ur. there. Will 
roved 1523. 

of will. 

Thomas Wood-=FElizabeth 

gate of Trug- 
gers, Chiding- 
stoue, bur. at 
Chidingstone 8 
Feb. 1566. 

. . . ., bur. 
at Chid- 
31 July 


John Woodgate=pJohan 
of Cowden and 
Will dated 1560. 

Woodgates of Stone- 
wall, Chidingstone. 
(See Sheet No. III.) 

Christopher Woodgate 
of Woodgate, Chiding- 
stone ; bur. at Chiding- 
stone 6 Dec. 1570. 

dead ii 

Wood J' 





ate of 




here 25 



Agnes, mar. at 
Cowden, 3 July 
1575, John 
Ford. (N.B.— 
Fords lived at 



mar. at 


13 Sept. 








Feb. 1 



gate of 


John Woodgate of-rElizabeth 
Chidingstone ; bur. I . . . ., bur. 
12 June 1620. Will 27 Oct. 
proved 1620. 1632. 

July 1 

N.B. — In a few instances the descents i 

Hester, bap. 

Sarah, bap. 7 Aug. 

12 April 

1586 ; bur. 30 Dec. 

1582; living 




Elizabeth, bap. 10 


Aug. 1589; living 

bap. 28 Feb. 




The Men of Kent (which is not the same as Kentishmen, who are regarded by 
the former as being infinitely less favoured than themselves) met William the 
Conqueror at Swanscomb, and so impressed him by their resolute bearing and 
martial ardour that he was glad to conclude terms of peace with them by allowing 
them to retain all their ancient customs, including gavelkind. One result is that 
our ancestors were all free men. 

In the year lo Edward I (1281) we learn from the Ahhreviatio Placitorum 
that a suit was instituted by Henry de Woodgate against William de Stubbesden. 
Radus (Ralph) de Woodgate, father of Henry, had contracted to settle certain 
lands at Sheldwich and Throwley to advance his son in marriage with the daughter 
of William de Stubbesden. The marriage was duly celebrated, Ralph conveyed 
the lands to William de Stubbesden on the understanding that he should enfeoff 
Henry, and soon afterwards died. William, so far from adhering to the arrange- 
ment, sold the lands to Guncelinus de Badlesmere and pocketed the proceeds. The 
matter was brought before Stephen de Pencester (Penshurst), a man of great con- 
sequence ; and subsequently the whole matter was thrashed out in the Courts. 

Now these Woodgates of Sheldwich and Throwley were succeeded about two 
hundred years later by Wolgates of Sheldwich and Throwley, in which family Ralph 
is a name that continually recurs. Wolgate was sometimes written Woodgate, 
Wouldgate, etc., but the " 1 " generally appeared in the name. 

Hasted has some information on the subject. Referring to Wilgate Green, 
at Throwley, he says : — ' ' There was a family named Wolgate, from whose residence 
at Throwley this green seems to have taken its name of Wolgate or Wilgate Green. 
After they had remained here for some generations, they ended in a daughter ; for 
Mr. Ralph Wolgate, dying in 1642, his daughter Anne married Mr. William Gennery, 
and entitled him to her father's possessions here, including Posiers in Borden and 
other parts of the country." (Posiers was a manor acquired by the Wolgates about 
the time of Henry VIH. Other branches of this family continued to exist after 
Ralph's death). 

Hasted's note on Badlesmere is also significant. He says that by the inquisition 
taken of the possessions of Bartholomew de Badlesmere in 2 Edward HI (1328), 
it was found that he was as that time seised of lands at Sheldwich apud le 
Woodgate, as was Margery his widow at her death three years later. 

In 1382, one hundred years after the marriage of Henry de Woodgate, a John 
Wodegate was living. He settled in Penshurst, and founded a family which estab- 
lished itself in the south west corner of Kent in a neighbourhood of which Chiding- 
stone may be termed the centre, consisting of that parish, Hever, Edenbridge, Pens- 
hurst, and Cowden. These were the immediate ancestors of the Woodgates of 
Stonewall and Summerhill, which may be termed the senior branch. 

No traces of Woodgates in the Chidingstone area can be discovered prior to the 
before mentioned John Woodgate, of Penshurst ; he must have migrated there from 
some other locality, possibly from Throwley. 


John Woodgate of Penshurst, in 1435 hired lands called Hawden Mead and 
60 acres of pasture, for which he seems to have paid £20 19 8. He is mentioned 
again as being feoffee, otherwise trustee, with Robert Darkynholl and John Dark- 
ynholl of Otford and John Reme of Tonbridge, of lands in Leigh, Tonbridge, Pens- 
hurst, and Chidingstone, under a deed dated 20th January, 1433. 

He left two sons, John of Chidingstone and William of Edenbridge. Both, 
with their sons, took part in the great Kentish rising under Jack Cade in 1450. 
" This was not a rabble," says Furley, " but an organised rising of the midcUe- 
classes, as well as those of more humble calling. One knight, eighteen esquires. 

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The Men of Kent (which is not the same as Kentishmen, who are regarded by 
the former as being infinitely less favoured than themselves) met William the 
Conqueror at Swanscomb, and so impressed him by their resolute bearing and 
martial ardour that he was glad to conclude terms of peace with them by allowing 
them to retain all their ancient customs, including gavelkind. One result is that 
our ancestors were all free men. 

In the year lo Edward I (1281) we learn from the Ahhreviatio Placitorum 
that a suit was instituted by Henry de Woodgate against William de Stubbesden, 
Radus (Ralph) de Woodgate, father of Henry, had contracted to settle certain 
lands at Sheldwich and Throwley to advance his son in marriage with the daughter 
of William de Stubbesden. The marriage was duly celebrated, Ralph conveyed 
the lands to Wilham de Stubbesden on the understanding that he should enfeoff 
Henry, and soon afterwards died. Wilham, so far from adhering to the arrange- 
ment, sold the lands to Guncelinus de Badlesmere and pocketed the proceeds. The 
matter was brought before Stephen de Pencester (Penshurst), a man of great con- 
sequence ; and subsequently the whole matter was thrashed out in the Courts. 

Now these Woodgates of Sheldwich and Throwley were succeeded about two 
hundred years later by Wolgates of Sheldwich and Throwley, in which family Ralph 
is a name that continually recurs. Wolgate was sometimes written Woodgate, 
Wouldgate, etc., but the "1" generally appeared in the name. 

Hasted has some information on the subject. Referring to Wilgate Green, 
at Throwley, he says : — ' ' There was a family named Wolgate, from whose residence 
at Throwley this green seems to have taken its name of Wolgate or Wilgate Green. 
After they had remained here for some generations, they ended in a daughter ; for 
Mr. Ralph Wolgate, dying in 1642, his daughter Anne married Mr. William Gennery, 
and entitled him to her father's possessions here, including Posiers in Borden and 
other parts of the country." (Posiers was a manor acquired by the Wolgates about 
the time of Henry VIH. Other branches of this family continued to exist after 
Ralph's death). 

Hasted's note on Badlesmere is also significant. He says that by the inquisition 
taken of the possessions of Bartholomew de Badlesmere in 2 Edward HI (1328), 
it was found that he was as that time seised of lands at Sheldwich apud le 
Woodgate, as was Margery his widow at her death three years later. 

In 1382, one hundred years after the marriage of Henry de Woodgate, a John 
Wodegate was living. He settled in Penshurst, and founded a family which estab- 
lished itself in the south west corner of Kent in a neighbourhood of which Chiding- 
stone may be termed the centre, consisting of that parish, Hever, Edenbridge, Pens- 
hurst, and Cowden. These were the immediate ancestors of the Woodgates of 
Stonewall and Summerhill, which may be termed the senior branch. 

No traces of Woodgates in the Chidingstone area can be discovered prior to the 
before mentioned John Woodgate, of Penshurst ; he must have migrated there from 
some other locality, possibly from Throwley. 


John Woodgate of Penshurst, in 1435 hired lands called Hawden Mead and 
60 acres of pasture, for which he seems to have paid £20 19 8. He is mentioned 
again as being feoffee, otherwise trustee, with Robert DarkynhoU and John Dark- 
ynholl of Otford and John Reme of Tonbridge, of lands in Leigh, Tonbridge, Pens- 
hurst, and Chidingstone, under a deed dated 20th January, 1433. 

He left two sons, John of Chidingstone and William of Edenbridge. Both, 
with their sons, took part in the great Kentish rising under Jack Cade in 1450. 
" This was not a rabble," says Furley, " but an organised rising of the middQe- 
classes, as well as those of more humble calling. One knight, eighteen esquires. 


seventy-four gentlemen, and five of the clergy of Kent took part in the rebellion, 
and the same may be said of Sussex, where the gentry would never have placed their 
lives in jeopardy among the following of a ' vagabond soldier.' " Furley gives a 
list of the four esquires and thirty-one gentlemen of Kent who obtained pardons. 

The four esquires were William Hexstall of East Peckham, William Edward 
of Sandhurst, William Culpepper of Goudhurst, and John Fogge of Chart. Among 
the thirty-one gentlemen were WUliam Woodgate of Edenbridge, Roger Twysden, 
John Roberts of Cranbrook, and two Culpeppers. The names of the three other 
Woodgates are to be found in a list of rebels. 

John conveyed lands at Tonbridge and at Swaynislond, Penshurst, to Richard 
Hammond, of Penshurst, who conveyed them in 1459 to John Moyse, sen., of 
Penshurst. The two brothers, John and William, were trustees of Robert Ludwill, of 
Cowden, who by will dated 30th December, 1456, devised property in Cowden to 
Thomas Wickenden and Sarah his wife. John Woodgate left a son, John, who 
died about 1476, leaving four children. 

John of Chidingstone, the second son, married Thomasin Wickenden, and was 
ancestor of the Woodgates of Hever. Walter, of Penshurst, the third son, and 
Julian his wife (circa 1460-1540) were ancestors of the Woodgates of Penshurst, 
Brenchley, Hadlow, Sundridge, and (we think) Hawkhurst. Alexandra, the daughter, 
married William Potkyn, Esq., of Sevenoaks, and was buried at Sevenoaks, in 1501, 
leaving issue William Potkyn of Sevenoaks and London (a). 

William the eldest son owned lands called Babefeld, held of the Manor of Chid- 
ingstone, Burghersh, in 1477 ; and in 1490 was owner of the Leas, Greffield other- 
wise Grottfield, and the Marie, all held of the same manor. In 1488 he was feoffee 
together with John Tebold of Seal, William Potkyn of Sevenoaks, William Smyth 
of Sundridge, and William Miller of Bromley of lands of William Graunger of Sun- 
dridge in trust for Richard Medehurst of Goldhill. In that year also he and John 
Ware of Chidingstone were feoffees of Walter Darknoll of Hawden together apparently 
with Richard Ashdowne. William Woodgate was buried in the Parish Church 
of Chidingstone. 

He was succeeded in Babefeld in 1499 by his son William Woodgate of Wood- 
gate, Chidingstone ; Thomas, the other son, appears to have had the Leas, Grott- 
field, and the Marie, as in 1629 they were vested in his descendant William Woodgate 
of Stonewall. 

William, the son, was steward of the lands of the Duke of Buckingham, who 
held great possessions in Kent and elsewhere, including Penshurst Place and Ton- 
bridge Castle. He was keeper of the Manor and Parks at Penshurst, for which he 
received £7 11 o a year ; he was also keeper of Kymbalton Castle, Hunts., for 
which he received a penny a day. Sir Henry Owen was keeper of the Postern Park, 
Tonbridge, for which he received ^^4 11 o a year; and Sir Edward Guildford was 
keeper of the North Frith Park, for which he received the same sum {b). 

It seems that William Woodgate was also keeper, modern " land-agent," of 
Halden Park ; for on i8th April, 1540, Stephen Cowper writes to Thomas Cromwell, 
Earl of Essex, ' ' I and your farmer of Halden Park, William Woodgate, send you by 
the bearer seven couple of herynshawes of your own breeding there, all that are 
now ready. Let us know whether to send the rest of the herynshawes and shovel- 
lers." He requests to have the rangership of the park. Tenterden, 1540. 

In 1509 it was presented by the homage of the Manor on the part of Frenden 
that William Woodgate had encroached upon the highway at Westcroft ' ' in terr. 
de Curdeshouse." 

(a) The arms of this family are "Argent, on a fess between three talbots, gules, three lozenges or." 
(6) Surrey of the lands of the r>uke of Buckingham in 1523, soon after he was beheaded — P.R.O. 

In 15 12, on the death of John Alphew, of Boar Place, Chidingstone, Lord of the 
Manors of Chidingstone Burghersh and Smythestreet temp Edward IV, it was found 
that he was seised jointly with William Woodgate, John Ware and another (who 
survived) of three messuages and looa. arable, 26a. meadow, 250a. pasture, and 30a. 
of wood land in Chidingstone, Sundridge, Penshurst, and Chevening ; and he was 
seised jointly with Wilham Woodgate and John Ware of two messuages and 150a. 
of arable land in Cowden, held of the Manor of Otford, and two messuages and looa. 
of arable, 40a. pasture, and 20a. wood land held of the abbot of St. Peter's. He 
was also seised of a messuage called Chested and 40a. of arable and 2| acres of meadow 
land in Penshurst. He left two daughters and co-heiresses, one of whom married 
Sir Robert Read, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, who possessed Boar Place 
in her right (c). 

William Woodgate's will dated the last day of February, 1540, remains. He 
directs that he should be buried in Chidingstone Parish Church, next to his father, 
giving to the Church for his biurial there 6/8. To be spent on his burial day, 53/4 ; 
and the same sum to the poor. For an honest priest to sing for his soul and his 
wife's soul, and for those that he was bound to pray for, for one year, £2 13 4, 
(three score masses). To Joan Ward, his late servant, a cow and 2od. To daughter 
Joan, 5 kyne and £3. To everyone of his godchildren, 8d. To son John, house 
and lands in Cowden some time Thomas Sedley's, and all other his pastures, meadows 
and woods wheresoever contained in a certain deed thereof made and sealed 24th 
March, 1538. Also to son John £10 of money, three pounds of silver, three kyne, 
two bullocks, two calves, half his swine, half his bedding, half his brass and half his 
pewter ; and all his corn except 12 bushels of wheat and 12 bushels of oats. To 
son Christopher, the house called Woodgates and the lands thereto belonging in 
Chidingstone and Penshurst, and all other lands, pastures, woods, crofts and meadows 
whatsoever contained in a certain deed made and sealed 24th March, 1538. Also 
to son Christopher three silver pounds, 12 bushels of wheat, 12 bushels of oats, half 
his swine, half his bedding, half his brass and half his pewter. To servant Mary 
Ward, a cowe and 20 -. To servant Julyand Hall, a cowe and £3 6 8. Residue 
to sons John and Christopher, the executors. Supervisor William Beecher, who 
was to have 3y/4. 


Witnesses : Sir John Doggett, parish priest, Thomas Basset and others. 

Proved at London 15th March, 1540. 

Christopher Woodgate was, we believe, unmarried. In 1540 it was presented 
by the homage on the part of Frenden that ' ' Johes Elys insult fecit in Xoferum 
Woodgate cum pugno" ; in other words, Christopher complains of assault and battery 
committed on him by John Ellis. 

John Woodgate, from 1543-5 occupied his lands at Cowden, and eventually 
removed to Edenbridge (? Tonbridge), where he was living on 20th March, 1560, 
the date of his will. He wills to be buried at Edenbridge (? Tonbridge). To wife 
Johan, aU goods and chattels. Also lands in Cowden for life, subject to maintenance 
of two youngest children ; after her death, the lands to be sold and money divided 

(c) There are a number of deeds by which lands were conveyed to Sir Robert Read with William 
Woodgate and others as trustees, as in 1482 (lands late of William HextaU). Also in 1484, of 
lands at St. Mary Hoo, Kent, to Read ; John Wode, Clerk ; William Woodgate ; and WiUiam 
Middleton, Citizen of London. 

Again, in 1486, Margery WhetnalL, Spinster, grants to Robert Rede, Serjeant at Law, WiUiam 
Bruyn, WiUiam Wodegate and Richard Cressy, her lands at Halstowe, and St. Mary Hoo, that 
belonged to her grandfather WiUiam Hexstall, Esq., deceased. 

In 1501 Robert Rede, Knt,, one of the King's Justices, releases to WiUiam Wodegate, 
and John Ware aU his right in lands at Orpington, Famborough, and Hayes, to the use of himself 
and for the purposes of his wilL 


between his children. To daughters Agnes Woodgate, Johan Woodgate, and Julian 
Woodgate, £6 13 4 each. Residue of money to be divided between three sons William 
Christopher, and Henry at 21. Thomas Blundell and Henry Stubbefield, executors. 

Witnesses : William Charlton, William Bulling, Edmund Skinner, Harry 

Proved at Rochester, 15th June, 1560. (xii., fo. 410). 

Henry, the son, " of Item (Ightham), Kent, Gent," by deed dated 17th May, 
1586, was appointed to the keepership of Eridge Park, Fant, with a full stock of deer 
in Sussex, by EHzabeth Lady Burgenny, who enjoyed the hfe estate in it. He 
was to have one stypend or yearly annuity of ;^io, together with the fedinge and 
keepinge for 20 buUockes in the pasture of the said park, two geldings, one corn 
mylle with all the proffits thereby growing, and also sufficient and necessary rooms 
and lodgings in the house of Eridge, fit and convenient for the said Henry Wood- 
gate and Mary his wife to inhabit and dwell in, with sufficient allowance of house- 
bote and fire-bote (fuel) for their maintenance and better provisions in housekeeping 
during the life of Lady Burgenny, who gave a bond in ;^200 to secure their enjoy- 
ment of it. Lady Burgenny subsequently married, about 1586, Wilham Sydley, 
of Lincolns Inn. 

The other son of William Woodgate, and the brother of William Woodgate 
the Steward of the Duke of Buckingham, was Thomas Woodgate of Truggers, 
Chidingstone, ancestor of the Woodgates of Stonewall and Summerhill. We must 
leave the consideration of his career to a later period, 

A few words on the Edenbridge branch. We have the will of John Woodgate, 
of Edenbridge, grandson of the William Woodgate, who served under Jack Cade. 

" In Dei Nom. Amen. In the yere of ouer Lorde God, 1523, the 14th day 
of June I John Wodgate, of Etonbreg, hole in mynde, make my testament in this 
manner, ffirst I bequeth my soull to God ; my bodie to be buryd in the church- 
yarde there. Also I bequeth to the high ault for my tithes forgotan 2d. It., [item] 
to by A aulter cloth for the high aulter 34. It., I will six masses be saide at my 
burying daie and six at my month (?) daie. This is the last will of John 
Woogate that Marten and William my sonnes have my six oxen and all the 
harnes belonging thereto. It., I will that Joane my daughter have a cowe. 
The residue of my goods, [after] my detts and bequeth is paid, I gif holy to Joan 
my wif whome I make my executrix. Witness Thomas Stanford, senr., John Wod- 
gate, Thomas Stanford, younger, John Stanford." 

Proved at Malhng, 30th June, 1523. 

(Rochester, vh., fo. 276). 

Martin the elder son was churchwarden at Edenbridge [cc), in 1535 and 1554, 
and was Bridgewarden in 1557. The bridgewardens received the rents of cer- 
tain lands at Edenbridge, Brasted, and Chipsted, and laid them out in maintaining 
the bridge. The surplus was employed in a variety of ways as a kind of ' ' Develop- 
ment Fund." E.g., in a lottery (with consent of inhabitants) ; in healing Anne 
Stone's leg; in new casting and hanging the bell; in paving the bridge {"and 
a paving breakfast") ; in maintaining a parishioner's daughter, with consent of 
whole parish; in buying hemp, to be put out to the poor to be spun ; and in a fair 
bible for the parish (with the consent of the parish). 

In 1542 Martin Woodgait, Thomas Stretfeld and Robert Fuller held the bridge- 
lands ; in 1543 Martin held the same lands, at 5/- rent. In 1547 the lessees were 
Martin Woodgate and George Woodgate of Hever. In 1569 Martyn Woodgate, 
son of Martin, was Bridgewarden. There seem to have been two wardens, 
appointed annually. 

(cc) Edenbridge is supposed to be named after the bridge there over the Eden. Streatfeild, however, 
considers that the name might have been taken from Edehi, the builder of the bridge. 


I I 


8i .qjJd ,Yi«19C 


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. ... , . '. ! -*,-.•.>.', li: , ; 5S01 Mill «i: .f(£d 
la>«8boo7riB«lirW;i .OTai .da*f l-f .trfd 

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viBM=.a9ibItrio i- .j^oo-bO i&JlcW 

JaBtad'HJO .) efociBt=9njil 




S'of ^^o -^l/^'^^^*^ • • • ■=J«^'^ ^^3-es John Wc!odgate::p 

gate of Wro- She remar. of City of of Brenchlev T' ' ' " 

tham, deceased Rejnes in London ^renchley. | 

in 1589. 1589. " ,jr ;,^. 

Woodgates of 

Walter Wood-=pAnn 5 
gate of Pens- at Chi 
hurst, bur. 18 14 Fet 
Feb. 1619. bur. 4 1 

Anne, bap. 3 Edward Wood- 
May 1577; gate, bap. at 
bur. 4 May Penshurst 24 
1577. Sep. 1578. 


- . ., bur. 
21 Feb. 
1626. 1st 

gate of Penshurst, . . bur 

bap. 4 Sep. 1580; 21 Sep 

bur. 5 Jan. 1645. 1641 

^ili- 2nd wife. 

bap. at 



stone 6 
July 1578. 

Elizabeth, bur. in chancel at 
Penshurst 22 Aug. 1634. 

A dau. 

= Thomas 

Fortunatus Woodgate of Penshurst,=?=Elizab( 
bap. 28 Feb. 1626 ; bur. 6 Aug. 1664:Tpenshi 

bap. 9 Dec. 

Martha Tworle,=pHenry Wood-=FAlice 
mar. licence gate of Pens- 

1670; bur 
Sep. 1679. 

24 I hurst, bap. 13 
June 1647 ; 
bur. 4 June 

bur. 27 



Elizabeth, bap. 27 Jan 

Fortunatus Woodgate 
bap. 26 Feb. 1650; bur! 
7 May 1658. 


rine, Winn 
bap. 21 

bap. 18 


bap. 5 Webb. 
Feb. I 

Walter ^Yoodga,te, bap 
Aug. 1675. 


Henry Woodgate of Pens- 
hurst, bap. 27 April 1677. 

John Woodgate, bap. 14 Mar 
1678; bur. 14 April 1687. 

Mary, bap. 15 
Aug. 1686; 
mar., 17 Feb. 
1709, Thomas 
Kennard of 

Robert Woodgate, 
bap. 21 Dec. 1687. 

bap. J 
bur. 2 

Henry Woodgate, 
bap. 5 June 1690; Sarah 
bur. 10 Feb. 1746, 1696 
uumar. Will. 

Henry Webb. 


William Woodgate, the other son of John, was living at Edenbridge in 1543 
(Subsidy Roll) but in 1557, when he attested a deed, was living at Chidingstone ; 
he was then at " Riversdale " Heath, — which we think must have been meant for 
Rendsley Heath, in the neighbourhood of Truggers and Stonewall. His son John 
Woodgate lived at Rendsley Heath, and left a will dated 8th October, 1617. 

" Being aged and sickly " he directs that he should be buried in the church or 
churchyard of Chidingstone. Poor of Chidingstone, 40/-. Daughter EHzabeth, 
£10. Daughter Hester, ;^5o, one joyned bedstead with a feather bed and boulster, 
coverlett and blankett thereunto belonging all being in my parlor and the great 
joyned cheste standing in the loft over the hawle. Son William, one table with 
frame with the benches and form thereunto belonging " without cubbert," all stand- 
ing in the hall of my now dwelling house, with one furnace standing in the kitchen or 
brewhouse, one " chayer," one great hop chest, all implements of husbandry and 
certain other goods. Residue of goods to wife Elizabeth, the sole executrix. Son 
William to have all the timber in the closes that is already felled, and the two boxes 
with the title deeds, to be delivered to him immediately. 

Witnesses : Thomas Leddal, Scr. and Anthony Combridge, 
Proved P.C.C. 4th July, 1620 by Elizabeth Woodgate, widow. (81 Soames). 

We do not know what became of William Woodgate ; he appears to have died 
without issue, in which case his branch would have become extinct in the male line. 


To revert to Walter, younger son of John Woodgate, jun., of Chidingstone, 
who served under Jack Cade. He appears on the Court Rolls frequently from 1480 
onwards, and in 1509 owns land formerly belonging to Fynch. In 15 15 he alienates 
to Henry Jessop and Thomas Skynner lands, etc., late of Alice Coleyn. In 1518 
(when Stretfield and Stretfyld begin to appear on the Court Rolls of the Honour of 
Otford, on the part of Somerden) he is a feoffee of two properties ; one, of house and 
50a. of John Alford, with John Goldsmith and Andrew Combridge. The other, 
LongMiead and Kyngshell, alienated by Rd. Beche and Wm. Goldsmith to Walter 
Woddgate, Robert Derknoll and John Moyes. In 1513 Margaret Tangmere alienates 
a house and land called Blowerhill to Robert DerkynhoU (of Hawden), Henry Jessop, 
Richard Rivers, and Walter Woodgate, and in 1535, he and Richard Rivers and 
others are John Hart's feoffees of house and land called Fercombe. 

Walter Woodgate settled in Penshurst ; he was there in 15 13, and is one of the 
fourteen inhabitants included in the subsidy of that year. It is difficult to see why 
only fourteen are assessed, but such is the case. They are all assessed in respect of 
;^20, except Jasper Culpepper, Gent., and Lucas Johnson, £40. Their names are 
Walter Fuller, John Moyse, Walter Woodgate, Richard Stretfeld, James Beecher, 
Robert Combridge, John Combridge, and a few others mostly illegible. 

He died soon afterwards, leaving a widow Julian and several sons namely 
Edward, of whom pre sently; Walter, m. Joan Bassett ; John Woodgate of Pens- 
hurst, apparently left no issue ; Reginald or Reynold Woodgate of Penshurst, an- 
cestor of the Woodgates of Sundridge ; and probably, Peter Woodgate, ancestor 
of the Woodgates of Hawkhurst. 

Edward, the son, living at Chidingstone, 1543, at Penshurst from 1544 to 1566, 
was for some time in the service of Sir George Harpur, of Great Chart, a man of 
enterprising character who nearly perished on the scaffold under Henry VIII. 
Edward's fidelity was rewarded by a devise of leasehold lands held of John, Duke 
of Northumberland. This land he subsequently sold to Alexander Colepepper, Esq., 
of London, and of " the great lodge park of Northfryth," Tonbridge. The con- 
veyance is dated 5th June, 1558 ; is signed by Edward Woodgate in a good hand ; 
and sealed with his seal, a spray of oak leaves above, acorns below, and E.W. in the 

aeodtisate of ^3ensljurst. 


dget , bur. at=^liU 

iBhursi 25 July AVi 


=f Ed ward Woodgate of Pcashurst, son of Walter Woodgate of Pen6hurst.=f= Alice, dau. of Richard Elvers of Penshurst, 

Ednard Wood-= 
gat« of Wro- 
tbam, deceased 
in 1389. 

Ill ■\Voodgate=F. 
iroiiolile,. J 

.^John Beynoa John "Woodgati 
" City of of I!r 

Woodgates of 

Walter Wood-=FAnn Mills, mar. A dau.=John Sway- Margaret. Thomas Woodgate of=j= Alice 

Kate of Pens- at Chidingstone land of Cow- — Chidingstone, after- ... . 

hurst, bur. 18 14 Feb. 1571-2 ; den. Anne. wards of Hadlow. , Will 

Feb. 1619. bur. 4 Sep. 1620. Adm'on granted 5 ; 1624. 

William Woodgate, bap. at Pens- 
hurst 26 July 1558 ; bur. 21 Aug. 

William Wood- George Wood- 
gate, bap. at gate, bap. at 
Penshurst 13 Penshurst 4 
Dec. 1562; bur. March 1564; 
25 Deo. 1562. bur. 1 April 

"T1 \ \ 

Mary, bap. at Pens- Peter Wood- Edmond Wood-=f=Mary 

hurst 24 Nov. 1566. gate. bap. at Kate of Pens- bur. at 

— Penshurst 15 burst, bap. at Penshurst 

Susanna, bap. at June 1570 ; Penshurst 11 i 13 June 

Penshurst 20 March bur. 3 July June 1572. 1 1605. 

1568. 1571. 

May 1577; 
bur. 4 May 

Edward Wood- 

Kto, bap. at 
mshurst 24 
Sop. 1678. 


Julyl578. 1624.. 

Bridgitc, bap.=John 
at Chiding- Woolfe. 
stone 91Aug. 
1579; living 


Thomas Wood-=f . 
gate of Hadlow, li 
bap. at Chiding- ii 
stone 19 Feb. 1' 

Alice, bap. at Chidingstone 
11 March 1582 ; bur. at 
Penshurst 29 March 1582. 

John Woodgate. William Woodgate. Henry Woodgate, 

John Wood- GabrielWood-=pJi>an 

gate, bap. at gate, bap. at mar. 

Chidingstone Chidingstone bridg 

14 June 18 May 1596. 1619. 

it Ton- 
I 5 Sep. 

Walter Woodgate,=pJane . . . ., 
Parish Clerk and 1 bur. 14 
Registrar of Pens- : May 1653. 
hurst, bap. 20 Nov. 
1597 ; bur. 26 Mar. 

Joanna, bap. al 
10 Oct. 1602. 

bap. 2 'Dec. 

,=rH6nry Wood-=T=A 

Martha Tworlo,=i=H6nry Wood-=T=Alice 

of Pons- I 

, bap. 13 bur. 27 
J uno 1647 ; I April 
bur. 4 Juuo 1 1727. 

Elizabeth. Luct.t- . • ■ 
top. 18 bap.'s Webb. 
June Feb. 

Fortunatus Woodgate, 
bap. 26 Feb. 1650; bur. 
7 May 1658. 

of Wro- 


^'"■^''!'!!L^^ Robert Woodgate, William Wrndgate, Fortunatus Wood- Richard Wood 
Aug. 1688; bap. 21 Dec. 1687. bap. 24 May 1692 ; gate, b. 12, bap. 14 gate, bur. 28 

, 17 Feb. 
1709, Thomas 
Kenuard of 

Tollbridge. bur. 10 Feb. 1746, 1696. 
uuniar. Will, 

bur. 25 March 1693. April 1700. 

Henry Woodgate, _ _ _ 

bap. 5 June 1690 ; Sarah, bap. 2 -ipril John Woodgate, h. Alice, bur. 

and bap. 6 Aug. Oct. 1709. 

Walter WoodgateT=Blizabeth, 
of Brasted, bap. 17 j sister of 
July 1626 ; bur. at Edward 
Penshurst lOApril Fry ; mar. 
1678. Will. 5 Oct. 


Thomas Wood-=pElizabeth Terry, 
gate, bap. 16 , mar. 7 Dec. 1671; 
July 1637; bur. : bur. 29 June 
22 May 1681. i 1681. 

— Ason,bttr.21Jin.lW041. 

Infant, bur. — 

31 Deo. 1631. Eliiabeth, bur. 2 il>J 


= Mary,— Edward Chap- 
Pens- man of 
hurst Farning- 
1655. ham. 2nd 1687. 

Robert Thomas Wood-=Eliza- Sarah, 

Cacott. gate of F^rn- both bur. at 

Will. ingham. Will Brasted 

proved 1701 ; living 17 April 

s.p. 1701. 167S. 


Thomas Woodgite, John Woodgate. 
bap. 28 June 1675; - , „ 

bur. 14 Feb. 1676. ATilliim Woo^ 

Sarah, bap. 6 May Twins, bur. U Mv 
1679. "Sf*- 

b Cacott. = 

Jane:=Jacob Couchman. 

Walter Cacott, 4 ohildrea.=Mary . 

William Woodgate, the other son of John, was living at Edenbridge in 1543 
(Subsidy Roll) but in 1557, when he attested a deed, was living at Chidingstone ; 
he was then at " Riversdale " Heath, — which we think must have been meant for 
Rendsley Heath, in the neighbourhood of Truggers and Stonewall. His son John 
Woodgate lived at Rendsley Heath, and left a will dated 8th October, 1617. 

" Being aged and sickly " he directs that he should be buried in the church or 
churchyard of Chidingstone. Poor of Chidingstone, 40/-. Daughter Elizabeth, 
£10. Daughter Hester, £$0, one joyned bedstead with a feather bed and boulster, 
coverlett and blankett thereunto belonging all being in my parlor and the great 
joyned cheste standing in the loft over the hawle. Son William, one table with 
frame with the benches and form thereunto belonging " without cubbert," all stand- 
ing in the hall of my now dwelling house, with one furnace standing in the kitchen or 
brewhouse, one " chayer," one great hop chest, all implements of husbandry and 
certain other goods. Residue of goods to wife Elizabeth, the sole executrix. Son 
William to have all the timber in the closes that is already felled, and the two boxes 
with the title deeds, to be delivered to him immediately. 

Witnesses : Thomas Leddal, Scr. and Anthony Combridge, 
Proved P.C.C. 4th July, 1620 by Elizabeth Woodgate, widow. (81 Soames). 

We do not know what became of William Woodgate ; he appears to have died 
without issue, in which case his branch would have become extinct in the male line. 


To revert to Walter, younger son of John Woodgate, jun., of Chidingstone, 
who served under Jack Cade. He appears on the Court Rolls frequently from 1480 
onwards, and in 1509 owns land formerly belonging to Fynch. In 15 15 he alienates 
to Henry Jessop and Thomas Skynner lands, etc., late of Alice Coleyn. In 15 18 
(when Stretfield and Stretfyld begin to appear on the Court Rolls of the Honour of 
Otford, on the part of Somerden) he is a feoffee of two properties ; one, of house and 
50a. of John Alford, with John Goldsmith and Andrew Combridge. The other, 
LongHiead and KyngsheU, alienated by Rd. Beche and Wm. Goldsmith to Walter 
Woddgate, Robert Derknoll and John Moyes. In 15 13 Margaret Tangmere alienates 
a house and land called Blowerhill to Robert Derkynholl (of Hawden), Henry Jessop, 
Richard Rivers, and Walter Woodgate, and in 1535, he and Richard Rivers and 
others are John Hart's feoffees of house and land called Fercombe. 

Walter Woodgate settled in Penshurst ; he was there in 15 13, and is one of the 
fourteen inhabitants included in the subsidy of that year. It is difficult to see why 
only fourteen are assessed, but such is the case. They are all assessed in respect of 
^20, except Jasper Culpepper, Gent., and Lucas Johnson, £40. Their names are 
Walter Fuller, John Moyse, Walter Woodgate, Richard Stretfeld, James Beecher, 
Robert Combridge, John Combridge, and a few others mostly illegible. 

He died soon afterwards, leaving a widow Julian and several sons namely 
Edward, of whom pre sently; Walter, m. Joan Bassett ; John Woodgate of Pens- 
hurst, apparently left no issue ; Reginald or Reynold Woodgate of Penshurst, an- 
cestor of the Woodgates of Sundridge ; and probably, Peter Woodgate, ancestor 
of the Woodgates of Hawkhurst. 

Edward, the son, living at Chidingstone, 1543, at Penshurst from 1544 to 1566, 
was for some time in the service of Sir George Harpur, of Great Chart, a man of 
enterprising character who nearly perished on the scaffold under Henry VIII. 
Edward's fidelity was rewarded by a devise of leasehold lands held of John, Duke 
of Northumberland. This land he subsequently sold to Alexander Colepepper, Esq., 
of London, and of " the great lodge park of Northfryth," Tonbridge. The con- 
veyance is dated 5th June, 1558 ; is signed by Edward Woodgate in a good hand ; 
and sealed with his seal, a spray of oak leaves above, acorns below, and E.W. in the 


In 1564 Edward Woodgate and Alice his wife conveyed 4a. of meadow land 
in Penshurst to John Rivers of London. Alice Woodgate appears to have been 
daughter of Richard Rivers [d) of Chafford Place, Penshurst, (Steward of the lands of 
the Duke of Buckingham), and sister of Sir John Rivers, Knt., above mentioned, 
Lord Mayor of London in 1573. The Rivers of Chafford Place, Penshurst, were 
descended from Sir Bartholomew Rivers who received an augmentation of honour 
from Edward IV. for his valuable services to the house of York. His son William 
held a military command under Henry VH., and lies buried in Rochester Cathedral, 
leaving by Alice his wife a son Edward, whose son Richard was Steward of the Duke 
of Buckingham and died leaving several children, among whom were Alice Wood- 
gate ; Sir John Rivers ; and a daughter, who married Robert Streatfeild, of High 
Street House, Chidingstone, ancestor of most of the different branches of that 
family now remaining. 

By will dated 1583, Sir John Rivers directs that he should be buried at Hadlow ; 
and gives to Thomas and Walter Woodgate of Penshurst a black coat each. His 
grandson John was created a baronet. 

Edward Woodgate in 1571 was living at Hildenborough, and on 28th January, 
1574 (the date of his will), at East Peckham. 

He wills that he should be buried in East Peckham churchyard. To poor 
men's chest or box of East Peckham, 34, and of Penshurst, 3/4. To wife Alice, 
half the household stuff, butter, cheese, bacon, tallow, and grease, 4 quarters of 
wheat, of barle}' and of malt, 2 quarters of oats, and all the wood at his Otham 
property; also £6 " reddie mone}^" and 2 chambers which she should like best 
in the house at Otham, with free liberty to make fire, bake, brew, draw water, or do 
any of the necessary business in any of the edifices there with some commodity in 
the herb garden, without denial. Also annuity of £6 (purchased of Thomas Mascall 
of Chart, next Sutton) for life, then to son Edmond. Also annuity or yearly rent 
of £6 out of the property of Richard Landes, in Hurstmonceux, Sussex, till children 
Mary, Susan, and William attain 16, then to those children. Son William, lands 
called Brydges after the death of Agnes Welle. Daughter Margaret, £2 6 8. 
Daughter Anne, £20 on marriage or at 21 ; Son-in-law John Sweylonde of Cowden 
to keep Anne's £20 for her. Johan Sextan, 6/8. Johan Browne, John Roger, Anne 
Browne, 3/4 each. Mary Woodgate, brother's daughter, 6 -. Forgives brother 
Walter all debts due from him. To son Walter, all such debts as Thomas 
Tylden owed on bond. Son Edward all such debts as John Leonard of Chevening, 
Esq., owed on bond. Son Thomas, residue of goods and chattels. Thomas Tutterham 
and William Miller, his beloved friends, to be overseers and have 10 - each. Lands 
at Penshurst to son Walter. Son John, lands at East Peckham, purchased of Roger 
Capper, alias Coper, and John Butter of East Peckham ; also lands lately purchased 
of Symon Pyne of Maidstone, in East Peckham and Maidstone. Son Thomas, 
lands in Otham and Langley, subject as aforesaid. To Robert and John Woodgate, 
sons of brothers Reynold Woodgate, lands at Sundridge in full satisfaction of all 
legacies bequeathed them by will of the said Reynold their father ; otherwise, the 
same to go to Dorothy their mother. Witness : Thomas Tutterham, Walter 
Woodgate, Thomas Smythe, and Robert Woodgate. 

Proved in P.C.C. (12 Pyckering). 

Thomas, one of the sons, settled first at Penshurst, then at Chidingstone, and 
ultimately at Hadlow, where he died in 1619. We have the will of his widow, Alice, 
dated 27th January, 1624 : — 

Son Edward, three pairs of sheets and six pieces of pewter : to Alice his daughter, 
a brass pan. Daughter Bridget, wife of John Wolfe, clothes of ' ' that white woollen 

(d) The arms of Rivera are " Azure, two bars daacette or, in chief three bezants " 

cloth that I have in my house," and six pieces of pewter, John Wolfe, 5 '-. Son- 
in-law Thomas Billett, 5/- and to Hester his daughter a little brass pot, brass pan, 
brass kettle, and pair of new sheets. Grandchild Richard Billet, pair of sheets and 
six table napkins. Hester and Richard Billet, all such goods as Testatrix had that 
were their mother's. God-daughter Alice (daughter of son Gabriel) great brass 
pot. Residue to son Gabriel, sole executor. 

Witnesses : Robert Williamson, Wilham Walter, and John Hooper (notary 
public). Proved by Gabriel, 22nd February, 1624. 

Edward Woodgate, another son, lived first at Penshurst, and ultimately 
removed to Wrotham, in 1571-2. His widow, Elizabeth Woodgate, in May 1589, 
married by licence John Reynes, of the City of London, Gent. In the marriage 
licence Edward is described as " late of Rotham, Clothier."* Walter and Edmond, 
two other sons of Edward of East Peckham, deserve separate mention. 

Edmond, {e), the younger son, lived at Penshurst and died leaving two sons, 
Walter and Edmond ; the former was Parish Clerk of Penshurst, and during the 
ParUamentary regime seems to have fulfilled in some measure the position of Minister, 
especially in the celebration of marriages. 

He left two surviving sons — Thomas of Penshurst, married Elizabeth Terry, 
and died in 1681 without male issue living at his death ; and Walter. The latter 
married Elizabeth Fry and removed to Brasted, leaving his lands at Penshurst in 
the occupation of his brother-in-law, Edward Fry. His will is dated 30th March, 
1678 :— 

To poor of Brasted, 10/-. Daughter Mary, wife of Francis Jourdain, ;^5. Son 
Thomas, one press cupboard, sheets, napkins, etc. Daughter Elizabeth, ;^3 at 21 
or marriage. Residue of goods to wife Elizabeth, the sole executrix, as to one quarter; 
remainder to daughter Mary, Jane, Sarah, and Elizabeth. Daughter Sarah, £100 
at 21. Daughter Elizabeth, ;^40 at 21. House and lands at Hever, occupied by 
John Lee, to daughter Jane at 21. All lands in Penshurst (including house and 
lands called Durtnolls, lately purchased of Edward Durtnoll, of Tiffey, Surrey, 
and occupied by Robert Skynner). To son Thomas, except a house and lands where 
Edward Fry lived, and 14a. lately purchased of Robert Skynner, which were to be 
sold, a mortgage of ;f300 on DurtnoU's paid off and balance paid to Sarah in respect 
of her £100 ; any excess to son Thomas. Wife to receive all rents till Thomas attain 
16 ; then an annuity of £12 till Sarah attain 21 ; then annuity of £io. Friends 
William Streatfeild, of Brasted and John Streatfeild, of Etonbridge, Overseers, and 
to have 5/- each. 

Witnesses : John Smyth, William Alchin, Henry Streatfeild. 

Proved in Shoreham Peculiars, 2n(l June, 1679, by Elizabeth Woodgate. 

Thomas of Farningham, yeoman, the son, died apparently without issue. By 
will dated 6th November, 1701, he gives to wife Ehzabeth all household goods 
and DurtnoU's in Penshurst, containing about 30a. near Pound's Bridge Mill, occupied 
by Henry Hubbard. Sister Mary, wife of Edward Chapman of Farningham, 4a. 
of meadow land in Penshurst, occupied by Robt. Evans. Sister Jane, wife of 
Robert Cakett (/) of Brasted, £20. Residue to Mary Chapman, sole executrix. 
Proved in Shoreham Peculiars, 22nd November, 1701. 

With Thomas, the male line appears to have become extinct. 

(e) In 1598 Edmond Woodgate and James Porter of Seal purchased of Samuel son of Thomas 
Eldridge of Bidborough a moiety of a house and 80a. in Bidborough, but in November 1598, 
three months later, Woodgate and Porter sell the property to WiUiam Olyver of Keales in Seal. 

(/) The will of Robert Cackett of Brasted mentions wife Jane, nephew Thomas Cackett of Shibbornj 
nieces Margaret and Mercy, daughters of brother Giles deceased. Son Robert, house and lands 
in Hever. Son Walter, house and lands at Brasted. Lands occupied by Henry Thompson. 
Robert and Walter Executors. Dated and proved 1712 (Shoreham). 

The will of Jane Cackett of Brasted, widow, mentions son Robert and wife ; daughter Jane 
wife of Jacob Conchman ; son Walter and his wife Mary and their four children. Dated and 
proved 1731 (Shoreham). 

* See Reference Sheet. 



Walter, the other son of Edward Woodgate and Alice Rivers, resided at Pens- 
hurst. He was one of the assessors of the various subsidies. In 1600, for instance, 
there are about forty names in Penshurst, Leigh, and Groombridge ; the following 
are the principal ones, being all those of £4 and upwards : — 

Sir Robert Sydney, Knt., Lord Governor 

of Flushing . . Lands « « ^^40 

Thomas Waller, Knt., one of the 

Commissioners of the Subsidy . . Lands . . . . £20 

Kenelme Willoughby, Gent . . . . Lands . . . . £6 

Christopher Willoughby, Gent. . . . . Goods . . . . £6 

Thomas Golding, Gent. . . . , . . Goods . . . . ;^io 

Thomas Jorden . . Lands . . . . £6 

Anthony Combridge . . . , . . Goods . . . . ^6 

Henry Brydger . . . . . . . . Goods . . . . £4 

Robert Skinner . . . . . . . . Goods . . . . £5 

Richard Fry . . . . . . . . Goods . . . . £4 

Robert Stretfeild . . . . . . . . Lands . . ... £4 

Henry Jessop . . . . . . . . Goods . . . . £4 

*John Saxby, Gent. . . . . . . Lands . . . . ^6 

"Andrew Combridge . . . , . . Lands . . . . £4 

^Walter Woodgate . . . . . . . . Lands . . . . £4 


He died in 1619. Both his elder children seemed to have died in infancy leaving 
only Fortunatus Woodgate, of Doubleton, Penshurst. The latter died in 1645, and 
wills that he should be buried in the chancel of the parish church of Penshurst, as 
near to his wives and child as conveniently could be. 

He gives to the preacher at his funeral, 10/-. To poor of Penshurst, 20/-. Son- 
in-law (? Step-son) Thomas Heming, 10/-. Servants, Thomas Aynscomb, John 
Wood, Ehzabeth Chambers, and Margaret Burges, lod. each. Residue of personalty 
to cousin Elizabeth Woodgate, daughter of Gabriel Woodgate. All lands to son 
Fortunatus, the sole executor. Friend William Beecher and Thomas Skynner, 
of Penshurst, his Overseers, 10;- each. 

Witnesses : Richard Lovet, Thomas Berrey, and Thomas Leddal. 

Proved 23rd June, 1645. 

Fortunatus died in January, 1644. His son a few months later obtained a 
marriage licence : — | 

" 6 July, 1644. Fortunatus Woodgate, Gent, of Penshurst, Kent, bachelor, 
18 [years], his parents deceased, emd Elizabeth Nevill of same, Spinster, about 22, 
consent of father Francis Nevill. At St. Faith's, Middlesex." 

Fortunatus the younger of Doubleton, Penshurst, died in 1664, and directed 
by will dated 2nd May of that year that he should be buried in the chancel of the 
parish church at Penshurst. His will provided as follows : — 

To minister that should preach at his funeral, 20/-. Poor of Penshurst, 40/-. 
Wife Elizabeth, ;^5, and ^20 annuity. Younger son William, ;{ioo at 21. Daughter. 
Dorothy, Katherine, Elizabeth, and Frances, ;^ioo each at 21 or marriage. Eldess 
son Henry, " all my books being in my house, some bookes which are not mynt 
neither are they to be his ; they are my wive's and my daughter Dorothy's " ; also 
all leaseholds and all other lands to Henry for life, ' ' provided that Elizabeth my wife 
may and shall have the use of the chamber and the furniture thereto belonging 

Vl ;«■?«! lyjui, es*-^ij&n«d i^m, 

I^H;'wlI:f ■.'Uff-va^i^oW'irif&I, 



•'i'»i^ i-I .fWsdjssilS .weibnA ..-wMbII lo levilO 

.4-U"} - 

■<:■ .-isfd I OITI \Ai£ IS OS . ! \bU 5 .-(jjd 

nrrr ■lAT OS.iuJ.-..-. : .^ : i£ .md .muu ,rtr)T? 

Peter Woo'dgate of I™gBers^rS,tr' 'tLSS"" SX!; 

and of Stonewall 

of Chidingstone ; married 16 25 Jul)' 1! 
November 1562. 

WiUiamWoUgate of Stone.=rJon...^;-. -^^-^^^^^^^^ i">S 


wall, Chidingstone, Srd sou, baj 
18 Feb. 1575 ; bur. 27 Aug. 1638 

Joauua, uau. anu ueirt;s.s ui uun^.i^, .^^^i^. -- .. --— 

Andrew Combridge of Chid- March 1578-9 ; Luck. 

ingstone : mar. there 5 Oct. mar. 22 Oct. 

1602 ; bur. 3 Jan. 1625. 1604. 

Andrew Wood 

gate, bap. 13 gate of 
Nov. 1603. Stonewall, 

\ " ^ I I 1 

Jolin W00d-T=Sarah, dau. of Ro- Sarah,=fEobert Thomas Woodgate 

William Wood- 
gate, bap. 20 
Aug. 1607. 

bap. 4 March 
1612 ; bur. 1 
July 1643. 

bert Streatfeild of bap. 13 
Chested; mar. at March 
Toubridge 27 June 1615. 
1637. She remar. 
John Ashdowne the 
younger of Hever. 


feild of Andrew Woodgate 
Cran- of Westerham, bap. 
sted. 23 Jan. 1619. 


Alice, baptized = 
14 July 1585; 
married 11 
Peb. 1604. 

Thomas Wood- 
gate of Chid- 
ingstone, bap 
9 June 1617; 


William Wood-T" Alice, dau. of 
gate of Stone- EichardStreat- 
wall: High Sheriff .feild of High 

of Kent 1699: -" ' ^^^^^^ ^«'^'^' 


26 Aug. 1638; bur- 
23 May 1717. Will. 

Sarah,=John Ash- 
bap. 1 downe of 
Oct. Kendsley 
1643. Heath. 

John Woodgate of=pElizabeth 

Chidingstone ; 
bur. 23 Jan. 
1718. Will. 

Chidingstone, bap. 
12 Aug. 1641 ; 
dec. in 1676. 

bur. 23 
Oct. 1676. 

6 Nov. 


Elizabeth, bur. 
26 Oct. 1676. 


John Woodffate=?^Rose, dau. and WilliamWood-= Hannah, Henry Wood-=rLydia, dau. 
juiiii """"S"''^ , ._ _' ,. „__ ,„ ,n r^,--, ,„„ . „„+,. r>f rimifl- nf Thomas 

of Stonewall 
and of Summer 
hill, Tonbridge, 
bap. 13 Sep. 1664 
bur. 21 Aug. 1727 

! heiress of Eran 
i cis Birsty of 
Hever ; mar. 
at Peushurst 
18 Jan. 1693. 

gate of Chid- dau. of 
ingstone, b. .... 

1666; bur. 13 Coney of 
March 1718. Seven- 

gate of Goud- 

Thomas Woodi 
of"' Thomas of St. Sepulch 
Crompe of Citizen of Lom 
Maidstone, b. 1670. 

(See Sheet No. IV.) 

William 'woodgate of Sarah, b. 3, bap. Alice, b. 30 Dec. 1697 ;=f=Artliur_Children Jol^^^y^^^^^^^ug: 

Stonewall, bap. at at Penshurst 22 bap. at Penshurst 29 

Penslmrst 11 June Oct. 1696 ; bur. Jan. 1698. AVill 1768. 

1695. Adni'on granted 28 Feb. 1761, _ 

13 Sep. 1743. uuuiar. I 

of Riverhill, 

4, bap. 

1699 ; bur. at Chid- M 

ingstone 17 April ui 


One son, d. in infancy. 

over the hall during her widowhood " and residue of personalty ; after Henry's death, 
the same to devolve to his children, in tail male, with remainders overs. Provision 
for enabling Henry, then unmarried, to jointure any future wife to the extent of 
;f20 a year. Mr. Thomas Seyhard and Thomas Cadde, both of Penshurst, Overseers, 
20/- each. Will written in his own hand and signed " Fort: Woodgate." . 
Witness : Richard Beecher, Mary Beecher, John Chapman. 

Proved 2nd May, 1665, in P.C.C. (56 Hyde). 

Henry married about 1670 -" Mrs. Martha Tworle, of Loughton, Sussex, spinster, 
about 28, and at her own disposal," by licence ; he was then about 25, and the 
marriage was to be at East Hoadley ; the licence was dated 27th December, 1670. 

There was no fear of the entail terminating in William's favour, as his brother 
had an immense family. He was therefore sent up to London to make his fortune. 
We do not know what line he followed, as his will (dated 29th January, 1715) describes 
him simply as " gent." He seems however to have done pretty well, and directs 
that his body should be brought to Penshurst, to be buried in the parish church. 
He gives legacies of varying amounts to the following : — 

Brother Henry ; brother Henry's son Henry ; sister Katherine Winn, widow ; 
nephew William Burgess ; cousin Henry Bewley of Plaxtol ; niece Lucy Webb ; 
cousin John Sandford and Elizabeth his wife; their daughter "my cousin" Katherine 
Sandford ; cousin Edward Northey "of Painters Hall, London, Gent."; 
cousin Nathaniel Drake, son of cousin Gideon Drake, under 21 ; and Nathaniel's 
uncle Edward Northey ; gives three gold rings ' ' each of which I have by me and 
usually wear " ; a broad piece of gold of five and twenty shillings each to cousins 
Henry Burgess, Mary Burgess, and Ann wife of Edward Northey, and Ehz. Drake, 
now wife of Gideon Drake ; Anna Maria Drake, daughter of Gideon ; cousin Thomas 
Northey and Mary his wife ; brother Webb ; Mrs. Thomas Harrison ; Ann Shotter ; 
Mr. Charles Whadcock ; nephew William Burgess sole executor and residuary legatee. 
Proved at London, 6th February, 1720. P.C.C. (38 Buckingham). 

Henry appears to have been the only son among fourteen children that survived, 
and even he died without issue. By will dated 24th October, 1735, he left legacies to 
a Webb nephew and niece, and the rest of his property to Susannah Page, widow 
of Daniel Page, late of Penshurst. Proved at London, 20th February, 1746, by 
Susanna Page. This branch appears to have ended with Henry. 


To return, however, to the last remaining branch of the Woodgates of this 
neighbourhood — that of Thomas Woodgate of Truggers, brother of William Woodgate 
of Woodgate, and ancestor of the Summerhill family. 

In 1544 he purchased Truggers, a property at Rendsley Heath, consisting of 
about 50a. of land, which continued in the family for many generations. Truggers 
belonged originally to John Slighters, afterwards to John Pigott and then to Henry 
Pigott, who sold it to Woodgate. It was held of the manor of Chidingstone 
Burghersh. Woodgate also held various lands of the King in capite, and in the time 
of Henry VIII obtained the royal hcence to alienate some 50 acres at Rendsley 
to Anne Bond, widow. Lands held in capite could only be ahenated on payment 
of a fine or duty, often arbitrary ; and such fines continued to exist tiU the time of 
Charles II, when they were swept away, and an equivalent revenue granted to the 
crown. He seems also to have purchased the Rye, otherwise Holmwell, at Rendsley 
Heath, which in 1525 belonged to Henry Pigott and in 1557 to Thomas Woodgate, 

aeoonsate of ^toiutoall anti Ciitfisei-s. Cijititnsstone. 


Feb. 1566.=fElizabeth . 

buried 31 July 1574. 

Hunter, widow ; marne 
ingstone 2 
J September 1 

IS Feb. 

, Woodgate of Stoiie-=f 

idinastoDf. 3rU sou, hq: I 
575" bur. 27 Aug. 1638. 

ridKO of ( 
■. tlicre 6 

14 July 

married x± a,^..-..., 

Feb. 1604. I l»t » 

Elizabeth l'ig^ott,= Walter Woodgate^p? Mirrell, Henry ^\ 00 
mar 19 Oct. 1596: of Truggers, 1st 1 buried 18 gate, baptiz 
7 son bap. 14 Deo. Apr. IBU. 20 August 

oseph "Woodgate, bap— p. 
ized 30 March 1589. I 

Not. 1577. ot Chid- 

Aiiirew 'Wood- Johm 'Wooi-=f=Snrah, 
sate. bap. 13 gate of 

KoT. 1603. Stonewall, 

bap. 4 March 

oodgate. Thomas Wood- 

Chested; mar. 
Tonbridge 27 Ju 

Andrew Woodgate ingstone, 
of "Westerham, bap. 9 June li 
23 Jan. 1619. unmar. 

Saiah,=John Ash- 

gate 01 stone- 
wall; High Sheriff 
of Kent 1699; bap- 

John Wood2ate=i=E/.iC, dau. and WilliamAVood.=Hannah, Henry Wood-=rLydia, dan. Ihomaa n oodgat*- 

of 8tOTem!l iri"^""""- Bate of Chid- dau. of gate of Goud- I of Thomas of St. Sepulchre's, 

ildJfSier- ™ Birst)- of ing«„ne,b hurst, b. 1668, Crompe of Clttzen of London, 

SLTonbridae Howgreen, 1666; bur. 13 Coney ot | Maidstone, b. 1670. 

.'-^^ 1^ Sep. l/i. ; H-er;___,nar. March 171B. Sej.n- .g^, ^hee^^ko. lY.) (Seel 


. 21 Aug. 1727. 

wniiin. Woodgate of Sarah, b. 3, bap. Alice, b. 30 Dee. 1697 iT=.4rthur Children John Woodgate, b. Henry 
Svx.'^all, bap. aX at Penshnnrt 22 bap. at Penshurst 29 I of Eiverhill, 4, bap. 22^ Aug. 

13 Set,, lim. 

Jan. 1698. Will 1768. Sevonoaks. 

Jan. 1641. 1st 

.T=Walter Woodgate of Chidingstone, bap. 25 AprU= 
; 1603 ; m. 1st, 12 May 1631 ; 2ndly, 30 Not. 1648. 

Elizabeth, bap. Margaret, bap.= Elizabeth, bap. Thomas Woodgate,-r Anna, bap. 

at Penshurst 24 Oot. 1596. Wilooi. 25 Feb. 1598. bap. 19 July 1601. ^^"j^,^ 

Walter Woodgate of Lingfield=rElizabeth, ividow ot John Friend of Lingfield, Surrey. William Woodgate, 1 

26 Feb. 1892. 
. 29 Dec. 1657. 

Jane=fThomas Mngg, 

, Chidiugstone 4 Ann, bap. at Ohidin( 

ap. at Chidiugstone 1 
bur. 14 March 16C9. 

;a-=^ Alexander Mary,-|-. . . . Car- 
li, I Osborn bap. I penter. 

.. 2 j of Cow- 26 Dec. 

John Wood- Thomas Wood-T=Ann, dau. of Michael Miriam, Philippa, bap.=Thomas Moyse 
™te bap. 10 gate ot Trug- ' Bassett ot Chiding- bap. 9 21 Feb. 1646 ; of Tunbridge 
Dec 1637 ! gers, bap. 16 stone ; mar. 12 Feb. March mar. 7 Feb. W ells ; died 

William Wood- Hannah,=John Ma 

gate of Pens- mar. of Tyhur 

hurst. Will 1667. and Grci 

proved 1662. Nashes. 

Oliver Com.=pSarah=Thomas Alex- 

Harden. 1st of London. gate of bur. 

Oliver of Harden. Andrew. 

Anne. Mary=Richard S 

Sarah,=pWilliam Robert Stephen Woodgate 
.1677. Durrant W^ood- of Sevenoaks, b. 
of Frani- gate, b. 1681. 

A child, bur. John Wo. 

28 April 1658. gate, bap, 

— 28 June 

A child, bur. 1662 ; bu: 

12 May 1661. 21 Sep. 10 

Sep. 1664; gers, 

bur. 12 March iboa; 

Dec. 1668. bur. 14 May 

Sarah, Anne, b«p. Sebeoea, b. 

hap. 25 3 Jan. 12 Oct 16* 

June 1688; bur. if'"' 

1686. 6 Aug. >oi. ItiM 

mas Woodgate, Eev. Francis Woodgate, Vioai=j=Maix dan. ot Thomas Thompson Elizabeth, bap. at Anne, bap. at John Woodgate of S««I'''™ JT'^''' ^bndJ' 
^^t^'chiib otMountfield; bap. 25^eo:i70B.l[or Hal. Place, seal. f-*T,!r« ^^ ^U^^^^.^' SSZ^LM^ ^ Vj imT bt. ^, ^t. 

e 170.'. Woodgates of Summerhill, etc. ^y- ^' 


over the hcdl during her widowhood " and residue of personalty ; after Henry's death, 
the same to devolve to his children, in tail male, with remainders overs. Provision 
for enabling Henry, then unmarried, to jointure any future wife to the extent of 
^20 a year, Mr. Thomas Seyhard and Thomas Cadde, both of Penshurst, Overseers, 
20/- each. Will written in his own hand and signed " Fort: Woodgate." . 
Witness : Richard Beecher, Mary Beecher, John Chapman. 

Proved 2nd May, 1665, in P.C.C. (56 Hyde). 

Henry married about 1670 -" Mrs. Martha Tworle, of Loughton, Sussex, spinster, 
about 28, and at her own disposal," by licence ; he was then about 25, and the 
marriage was to be at East Hoadley ; the licence was dated 27th December, 1670. 

There was no fear of the entail terminating in William's favour, as his brother 
had an immense family. He was therefore sent up to London to make his fortune. 
We do not know what line he followed, as his will (dated 29th January, 1715) describes 
him simply as " gent." He seems however to have done pretty well, and directs 
that his body should be brought to Penshurst, to be buried in the parish church. 
He gives legacies of varying amounts to the following : — 

Brother Henry ; brother Henry's son Henry ; sister Katherine Winn, widow ; 
nephew William Burgess ; cousin Henry Bewley of Plaxtol ; niece Lucy Webb ; 
cousin John Sandford and Elizabeth his wife; their daughter "my cousin" Katherine 
Sandford ; cousin Edward Northey "of Painters Hall, London, Gent."; 
cousin Nathaniel Drake, son of cousin Gideon Drake, under 21 ; and Nathaniel's 
uncle Edward Northey ; gives three gold rings ' * each of which I have by me and 
usually wear " ; a broad piece of gold of five and twenty shillings each to cousins 
Henry Burgess, Mary Burgess, and Ann wife of Edward Northey, and Eliz. Drake, 
now wife of Gideon Drake ; Anna Maria Drake, daughter of Gideon ; cousin Thomas 
Northey and Mary his wife ; brother Webb ; Mrs. Thomas Harrison ; Ann Shotter ; 
Mr. Charles Whadcock ; nephew WilHam Burgess sole executor and residuary legatee. 
Proved at London, 6th February, 1720. P.C.C. (38 Buckingham). 

Henry appears to have been the only son among fourteen children that survived, 
and even he died without issue. By will dated 24th October, 1735, he left legacies to 
a Webb nephew and niece, and the rest of his property to Susannah Page, widow 
of Daniel Page, late of Penshurst. Proved at London, 20th February, 1746, by 
Susanna Page. This branch appears to have ended with Henry. 


To retiurn, however, to the last remaining branch of the Woodgates of this 
neighbourhood — that of Thomas Woodgate of Truggers, brother of William Woodgate 
of Woodgate, and ancestor of the SummerhiU family. 

In 1544 he purchased Truggers, a property at Rendsley Heath, consisting of 
about 50a. of land, which continued in the family for many generations. Truggers 
belonged originally to John Slighters, afterwards to John Pigott and then to Henry 
Pigott, who sold it to Woodgate. It was held of the manor of Chidingstone 
Burghersh. Woodgate also held various lands of the King in capite, and in the time 
of Henry VIII obtained the royal licence to alienate some 50 acres at Rendsley 
to Anne Bond, widow. Lands held in capite could only be alienated on payment 
of a fine or duty, often arbitrary ; and such fines continued to exist till the time of 
Charles II, when they were swept away, and an equivalent revenue granted to the 
crown. He seems also to have purchased the Rye, otherwise Holm well, at Rendsley 
Heath, which in 1525 belonged to Henry Pigott and in 1557 to Thomas Woodgate. 


One year before he purchased Truggers, i.e., in 1543, Thomas Woodgate appears 

to have been one of the chief men in Chidingstone (after the Willoughby's of Boar 
Place). There are about 80 names, and the following are the first nine in order. 

Thomas Willoughby, one of the justices of 

the King's Bench . . . . . . Lands . . . . £10 

Humphry Walrond, Gent. . . . . Lands . . . . 20/- 

Thomas Woodgate . . . . . . Goods . . 13/4 

Stephen Pays . . . . . . . . Goods . . . . 13/4 

Richard Streatfeild . . . . . . Goods . . . . 13 4 

William Bassett . . . . . . . . Goods . . 5/4 

William Ashdowne . . . . . . Goods . . . . 5/- 

John Ashdowne . . . . . . . . Goods . . . . 4/8 

Radus Ashdowne . . . . , . . . Goods . . . . 4/- 

Two years later the order is as follows : — 

Humphry Willoughby, Gent. . . . . Lands . . . . 40/- 

Christopher Willoughby, Gent. . . . . Lands . . . . 40/- 

Robert Stretfylde Goods . . . . 32/- 

Thomas Woodgate . . . . . . Goods , . . . 16 - 

William Ashedowne . . . . . . Goods . . . . 13 - 

William Pygot . , . . . . . . Lands . . . . 12/- 

Christopher Woodgate . . . . . . Lands . . . . 10/- 

Raff Ashdowne . . . . . . . . Lands . . . . 10/- 

John Bassett Goods . . . . 10/- 

William Bassett . . Goods . . . . 10/- 

Bryget Willoughby, widow(g) . . . . Lands . . . . 9/- 

About 1558, out of 55 names, the first three are :— 

Richard Stretfelde . . . . . . Goods . . . . ^^22 

Henry Stretfeld . . Goods . . . . ^16 

Thomas Woodgate Goods . . . . £12 

The year before Thomas Woodgate's death, i.e. 
four are as follows : — 

1564 out of 52 names the first 

Thomas Willoughby, Esq. 
Richard Stretfelde 
Henry Stretfeld 
Thomas Wooderate 

. . Lands . . . . £^0 

. . Goods . . . . £20 

Goods . . . . £14 

. . Goods . . . . £12 

Christopher Woodgate comes ninth with ly in lands, and Peter Woodgate with £5. 
Thomas Woodgate died in 1565. He left a will, but it cannot be found in any 
of the Courts of Probate ; it must therefore have been lost. We have learnt one or 
two particulars of it from a suit in chancery of 1595. 

The will was dated 20th January, 1565. By it (amongst other things) he gave 
to William his third son a property at Rendsley Heath called Casdenne, containing 
24a., in tail male, with remainder to second son Thomas in tail male. William 
died unmarried in 1570, soon after attaining his majority. Thomas his brother 
died seven years later ; but he had first mortgaged Casdenne to Richard Waters, 
of Chidingstone, Miller, who (by directions contained in Thomas' will) sold Casdenne, 
to John Combridge of Penshurst and Francis Combridge his son, paid off his 
mortgage debt and handed over the balance to the executors. The Combridges 
entered into possession and settled it on Abia, widow of Thomas Woodgate and 

(flf) The Willoughby's of Chidingstone Burghersh were the most important family in the place. 
Bridget Willoughby was daughter and co-heiress of Sir Robert Read, Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas and Lord of the Manor ; and widow of Sir Thomas Willoughby, Knt., a younger brother 
of William Lord Willoughby (ancestor of Lord Willoughby of Eresby). 


then the wife of Francis Combridge. John and Francis died several years jpreviously 
to 1595. The land was claimed by Andrew, John, and Robert, as brothers and 
heirs of Francis, subject to the settlement on Abia Combridge ; and also by Peter 
and Daniel Woodgate, the two remaining sons of Thomas the Elder, as heirs in 

Of Daniel Woodgate, the youngest son {h), we know nothing, except that he 
married Ann Hunter, widow, in 1575 (who seems to have died in 1584) ; and was 
churchwarden of Chidingstone in 1578. 

Thomas Woodgate, of the " Stooke," (or Watstock), the second son, is described 
sometimes as ' ' clothier " Peter Woodgate and John Lye, of Edenbridge, were 
the trustees of his marriage settlement in 1566. He left no male issue surviving. 
We cannot find the will ; but we know from another chancery suit that he died in 
.1577, and that by will dated 15th July, 1577 (amongst other things) he devised the 
Stoke to Abia his wife for her life, and after her decease to his three nephews, Walter, 
Thomas, and William Woodgate, successively in tail male, subject to sums charged 
thereon for his daughters. The wiU was proved by Abia, the sole executrix, who 
soon afterwards married the above-named Francis Combridge, (?) on whose death in 
1584 she remarried his cousin, Anthony Combridge, of Newhouse, Penshurst. Thomas, 
the second nephew, succeeded to Watstock, under the entail, Walter having sold 
{k) to him his interest under the will. 

The eldest son of Thomas Woodgate, of Truggers, was Peter Woodgate, who 
succeeded to that property. Once, in 1577, ^e is described in a deed as " Peter 
Woodgate, of Chidingstone, clothier, son of Thomas Woodgate, late of Cranbrook, 
deceased. Clothier." If this deed is correct, then it can only be supposed that 
Thomas went off in his early days to Cranbrook, at the same time probably as his 
cousin Peter went to the adjoining town of Hawkhurst (the two chief centres of the 
great cloth manufacturing industry) ; that Thomas, while still there, purchased 
land at Chidingstone under his description of " Clothier " and eventually returned 
to Chidingstone • and that when Peter sold the same land (/) in 1575, it was deemed 
advisable by the attorney to identify Peter as the son of the purchaser. 

{h) Daniel Woo.dgate was perhaps the father of Peter Woodgate of Tonbridge, who had several 
children. Peter's wife died in 1651. This connection, however, is only conjectural. 

(i) Francis Combridge by will dated 4th June, 1584, gave all his lands to Abia for hfe, and then 
to his three brothers, Andrew of Chidingstone, Robert of Penshurst, and John (who died 
without issue). Andrew and his nephew Robert, son of Robert deceased, agreed to divide the 
inheritance between them, subject to the widow's life estate. Dated 4tli June, 1624. 

(k) By Indenture dated 21st November, 1617, made between Walter Woodgate of Chidingstone 
and Thomas Woodgate of Penshurst, Walter in consideration of £180 and the sum thereafter 
mentioned granted to Thomas (1) A close of land in Chidingstone called Culderscroft containing 
5a. next the King's Highway leading from Chidingstone to Cowden S. land of William Luck N. and 
W. and land of Walter Woodgate E. (2) 12ia. of land and woodland in Chidingstone called Aldine 
Croft or Little Copps next land of WiUiam Luck W, land late of MatthewDye N, and land of Walter 
Woodgate E. and S. (3) 1 rood of land in Chidingstone being the N.W. corner of a iield belonging 
to Walter called Sandfield or Hardlefield and right of way thereto through Sandlield iata Aldine 
Croft and Culderscroft. (4) a messuage, orchard, barns, stables, and edifices called the Stoke 
abas Stookehaes, abas Prickfieldhaes and 4a. of land adjoining in Chidingstone next land of 
Silvester Streatfeild, Gent. E. (5) 4a. in Chidingstone called Pookden next the King's Highway 
leading from Renhes Hoath to Chidingstone S.W., land of Anthony Combridge E. and land of 
John Woodgate S. (Numbers (4) and (5) were subject to the hfe estate of Abia Combridge). 
Reservation to Walter of right to resort to the marl pit in Aldine Croft to take marl for Sand- 
field. Covenant by Thomas to pay the money charged on (4) and (5) to his deceased uncle's 
daughters. Thomas releases Walter from a bond dated 18th June, 1613, to secure to Thomas 

Abia Combridge died in May, 1632, but Anthony Combridge her husband, and Abia Everest her 
grand-daughter retained the deeds and claimed the land, which was the reason of Thomas 
Woodgate bringing the suit. Thomas Woodgate seems to have gained the day. 

(I) The land in question consisted of 4a. of meadow called Snaghope in Chidingstone nextHad- 
deredge Mead, East ; the common River, South ; and Hadderedge and Watermede, West and 
North ; also right of way to Snaghope through lands of Peter. Covenant by Peter and Joan his 
wife to levy a fine. Purchaser, Sir John Rivers, Knt., of London, for £45. Dated 7 th May, 1575. 


Peter Woodgate married in 1562 Joan daughter of John Bassett, of Chidingstone, 
whose family had been long settled in the parish. In the reign of Edward III 
{^373) > Thomas Bassett appears as one of the chief men in Chidingstone. About 
this time, in 1558 and 1559, the Bassetts of Chidingstone intermarried with the families 
of Vane and Lambarde, two of the principal families of Kent. There is reason to 
believe that Joan Bassett was an heiress or co-heiress (w). 

It is almost certain that Peter Woodgate built Stonewall, which was still in the 
family less than a century ago ; the main part of the house has been pulled 
down" and only a small remnant left. However, we are informed that the 
inscription "W.W,, 1590" is carved upon abeam in the remaining part of the old house. 
In 1590, Peter's son William was about fourteen years old ; what is more probable 
than that some boyish instinct led him to climb up and carve his initials in his father's 
house ? This shows at least that the place had been built, and was then inhabited by 
Peter. Again, two years previously Peter Woodgate had settled Truggers in trust for 
his eldest son Walter (n) ; it seems that he left Truggers to reside at Stonewall. Peter 
Woodgate, who was living in 1605, died soon afterwards ; no entry of his burial 
and no will can be found. 

He was succeeded in Stonewall by his third son William ; the Woodgates of 
Stonewall are accounted for in the succeeding chapter. 


Thomas the second son of Peter was of Watstock. He had only one son, Thomas, 
and several daughters, of whom Anna married Thomas Allen, of Sevenoaks. Anna 
by wiU dated 14th January, 1675 (made by virtue of ante nuptial agreement, dated 
1672) , gave a messuage and 20a. in Leigh to her nephew William Woodgate, of Leigh, 
Gent., and made various bequests, including ;fio to Carey Woodgate, daughter 
of Joseph Woodgate her uncle. Husband executor. 

{m) We have no idea of the extent of her fortune. Part of it lay in Cudham, called Skidds' Forty- 
Acres, held of the Manor of Oxenhoath. 

In 1590 Peter Woodgate was tenant of the Oxenhoath Court Rolls in right of his wife ; 
and he, with Joan his wife, granted this property to their son Thomas of Watstock who appears 
on the homage in 1603. In 1609 he aUenated the same to John Glover, 
(n) In 1588 Peter Woodgate alienated Truggers to Henry Hebbethwait© of London, in trust for 
Walter Woodgate, who attained 21 in that year. In 1605 Hebbethwaite surrendered Truggers 
to Walter. 

Peter Woodgate signs the parochial accounts in 1566 and subsequent years. The following 
note is entered in the parish books : — 

' ' A copy [of court roll] of a Uttle house at Summerden Green builded and belonging to the poor 
of the parish of Chidingstone granted to Peter Woodgate to the use of the poor April 22nd, 
anno 43 EHzabeth, was delivered by Henry Stretfeild to the nowe Churchwardens, 29th April, 
1621 " 

The following is from the order of the seats in the church agreed upon 28th September, 1571. 
" Tenements and their occupiers, viz. : — 

Wyborn at Bowbech Thomas Hayward. 

Riddens at Bowbech Henry Moody, 

Scoryers, William Seyhard, Gent. Occupier, Richard Wells. 

John Hayward's tenement Thomas Lewin. 

Sometime Pigot's Tenement (Truggers) Peter Woodgate. 

Cransted Richard Streatfeild. 

Tenement late Snap's William Gibson, Gent. 

Stonelake William Clarke. 

Tenement of Thomas Hayward at Tyegreen Richard Ameist. 
The uppermost six seats on ye north side were builded and made by Thomas WiUoughby, Esq., 
for his household seats ; the seventh, eighth, and ninth, by John Jessop of ye Causeway Tene- 
ment of Richard Blome, at Waterslip. The long seat in the South ayle, sometime called St. 
Edward's Chapel, belongeth to Bore Place. 

The chappell on ye north side of the chancell was builded by Sir Robt. Redde, Knt., Chief 
Justice of ye Common Pleas, for his house called Bore Place." 

John Hill, Parson Thomas WiUoughby, Esq. 

John Ashdowne, senior. Richard Streatfeild. 

Henry Ashdowne, junior. Henry Ashdowne, senior. 

John Jessop. William Beecher. etc. 

* See Reference Sheet, 


William Woodgate of Leigh, by will dated ist June, 1706, * ' being aged but 
in good health," gave legacies to Robert Hunt and his family ; to John Sale of 
Leigh, and Elizabeth his wife, and John his son ; nieces Jane and Frances, daughters 
of John White of Great Peckham ; Elizabeth, Ann, John, Mary, Joseph, and William, 
children of John Bennett, of Tonbridge ; kinsman John Sale, senior, executor. 
The Sales got the bulk, including an estate at HoUenden, Leigh. Proved i6th 
December, 1706. 

With William Woodgate the male line of this branch seems to have become 


Walter Woodgate of Truggers, eldest son of Peter Woodgate of Stonewall, 
owned Sealefields, Rook's Hoath, and other lands. He was churchwarden from 
time to time, as in 1622. 

In 1625, on the occasion of his son William's marriage, he settled on him by 
deed dated loth July, Truggers and 50a., and Rook's Hoath in Chidingstone and 
24a. He had also a younger son Walter, who married and had issue. 

William Woodgate of Truggers, the elder son, had a numerous family. Among 
others, he had John (0) , who died without issue ; Thomas ; Philippa, married Moyse ; 
Sarah, married Alexander ; Hannah, married Martin ; and Joell. William Woodgate, 
for the advancement in marriage of his son Thomas (/>), by deed dated 12th November, 
1655, settled on him Truggers and Rooke's Hoath, and house and 8a. at Rendsley 
Hoath purchased 25th March, 1643, of John Care ; also i6a. of arable, pasture, and 
woodland in Chidingstone purchased 2nd May, 1626, of Henry Ashdowne subject 
to an annuity of £15 to himself for life, and to the sum of £200 to be paid on his 
death to his younger son Joel. In consideration of the marriage, Thomas Woodgate 
by deed dated 15th December, 1655, settled on his prospective wife an annuity of 
£13, charged on the above property. 

Thomas Woodgate's wife was Ann daughter of Michael Bassett {q) of Chid- 
ingstone, Lord of the Manor of Stangrove, in Edenbridge. We have Thomas's will 
dated i6th April, 1669, describing him as of Chidingstone. 

To poor of Chidingstone, £4 10 o. To poor of Penshurst, £4 10 o. To 
youngest son Thomas, £1,200 at 21. Daughter Anne, £200 at 21 or on marriage. 
Wife Ann, such household goods as he had with her on marriage ; residue of personalty 
to son William. Wife Anne, life estate in Truggers and the furniture. Trustees 
to let Geeres, accumulate proceeds and hand them over to son Thomas at 21. All 
lands in Kent and Sussex to son William including Sealefields (held on a lease for 2000 

(o) The will of John Woodgate of Penshurst was proved 18th April, 1662 by brother Joel in Shore- 
ham PecuUars. He held lands of the Manor of Penshurst Hah mote ; and on his death the Lord 
seised a steer as the best beast by way of heriot, for which Joel compounded by paying 
£4 4 4 at a Court Baron holden 16th October, 13 Charles II, a very valuable steer ! 

(p) By an indenture dated 20th January, 1664, John Sage of Speldhurst in consideration of £305 
conveyed to Thomas Woodgate of Chidingstone Geeres and its appurtenances containing 20a. of 
land and 8a. of wood, late in the occupation of John Sage of Sundridge, but subject to a life 
annuity of £5 to Ehzabeth Ashdowne of Chidingstone, Spinster, under the will of Nicholas Ash- 
downe of Chidingstone deceased, and a mortgage for £80 created by Sage (created for payment 
of £40 each to his brothers Wilham and Thomas, given by will of Nicholas Ashdowne). 

(q) In his will dated and proved 1682, Michael Bassett mentions his daughter Anne Woodgate, widow, 
and her two children Anne and Thomas, both under age. 

His elder son Thomas Bassett of Cowden died 13th January, 1714, aged 71, and is buried 
in the south aisle of Chidingstone Church where there is a stone to his memory. 

John the yoimger son, of Edenbridge, was left the Manor of Stangrove and Linhurst Farm 
(60 acres) at Edenbridge. He left, by Ann hia wife, five children, Sarah, Ann, Katherino, 
Michael, and John. 


years at a peppercorn rent of Walter Woodgate, jun., of Lingfield, Surrey) ; and 
son Thomas to release to William his right in Robert lands {r). Executors: 
Brother Joel, and brother in-law Thomas Bassett, of Chidingstone. Proved P.C.C.^ 
i6th June, 1669. (80 Coke). 

William of Truggers the eldest son willed that he should be buried in the church 
of Chidingstone. Gave ;^ioo to sister Ann Legate and everything else to brothei* 
Thomas Woodgate, of Penshurst, sole executor. (Will dated 17th December, 1714). 

The latter was ' ' of Burwash, Sussex, Gent." in 1689. His will, dated 20th 
September, 1716, describes him as of Chidingstone. He gave ;^5o to sister Ann 
Legate, ;^io to poor of Chidingstone, £10 to poor of Penshurst, ;^io to Francis 
Green, of East Grinsted, his trustee, ;^io each to John Hayles, of Penshurst, and 
John Streatfeild (executors), and everything else, including all his lands in Chid- 
ingstone, Hever, Cowden, Lingfield, and Rotherfield, to John Longley. Proved 
in P.C.C. 23rd February, 1722 by Hayles ; in 1742 administration (with will annexed) 
de bonis non, granted to John Longley ; Hayles and Streatfeild both being dead. 
(41 Richmond). 

To return to the children of William Woodgate of Truggers. 

Philippa, a daughter, married Thomas Moyse (s), of Tonbridge. Moyse possessed 
some leasehold land at Tunbridge Wells on which be built a house. He appears 
to have been a man of extravagant disposition, and before his marriage had contracted 
" several great debts upon bond and otherwise." It was, however, arranged by 
the marriage articles dated 2nd February, 1686, under which Joel and William' 
Woodgate were Trustees, that the land should be settled ; that Philippa should 
have all the furniture and effects after the death of Moyse, and that Moyse should 
give a bond in £400 to the Trustees. In consideration of this Moyse took the greater' 
part of Phihppa's fortune, and with it paid off a great many of his debts After- 
Wards, however, instead of paying off his incumbrances, Moyse continually added 
t6 them, and finally was arrested for debt and committed to prison at Maidstone, 
where he died some years later. 

His estate Of course was insolvent ; but his widow took out letters of administra- 
tion, and paid off nearly £200 of the debts out of what remained of her fortune,- 
including £5 which Moyse had borrowed of John Coppin, the gaoler at Maidstone; 
and £10 II 2, Henry Streatfeild's charges for preparing the marriage articles. 

Philippa Moyse made her will dated i8th October, 1700. She willed to be 
buried at Penshurst. Left £10 each to her sisters Elizabeth Osborn and Hannah 
Martin ; £20 to each of the children of sisters King, Alexander, and Carpenter ; 
20/- to cousin Richard Fry, nephews William and Thomas Woodgate, and Aifeee 
Ann Legate. Residue to brother Joel, sole executor. 

Witnesses : Henry Streatfeild, Mary Scale, William Hilder, 

Proved 12th November, 1700. 

Joel the executor sold the effects at Tunbridge Wells for £58, the unexpired term 
of the lease for £100 to Henry Streatfeild (who resold it to Philip Seal for £130) and 
paid off the residue of Moyse's debts and the legacies leaving a comfortable balance 
lor himself. 

Sarah Woodgate, another daughter, married first Oliver Combridge, of Hawden, 
Penshurst ; marriage settlement dated 23rd June, 165 1. Oliver Combridge owned 
Hawden and 6oa., Newhouse and 60a., and other lands, of the yearly value of £140. 
By his will dated 27th September, 1656, he gave all the lands in Penshurst, Speld- 
hurst, and Tonbridge (which came from his uncle Andrew) to son Oliver ; Harts 

(f ) Robertland consisting of 34a. near Rendleys Hoath was purchased 15th October, 1652, by Thomas 
Woodgate of Chidingstone, of John Seyhard, of Delaware, Esq., son of Thomas Seyhard, for 
£310. In 1477 it belonged to John Ashdowne (Rabbotteslande). 

(«) For pedigree of Moyse of Penshurst, down to 1569, see Add. MSS., 34, 105, fo. 120 in Brit. Mus. 

and the remaining lands in Bidborough, Leigh, and Tonbridge to son Andrew. 
Personalty to wife for life, then to the children. His father Christopher and Uncle 
Oliver, executors. 

The uncle died soon after his nephew ; and Christopher the father, having made 
Thomas Woodgate of Truggers and his daughter-in-law, Sarah Combridge (Woodgate) 
executors, " by the persuasion of him the said Thomas Woodgate, he the said 
Christopher the father did withdraw himself to places unknown," and soon afterwards 
died. On his death, Sarah took out letters of administration to her husband, and 
married Thomas Alexander, Citizen of London. 

The eldest child, Oliver, claimed that Thomas Woodgate, who died in 1669 
leaving personal estate of the value of ^^2,000, had not produced proper accounts 
of the rents and profits received by him before his death. (It seems that the reason for 
Christopher Combridge 's withdrawal was financial embarrassment ; for Thomas 
Alexander, the principal creditor, took out letters of administration, on ist August, 

Hannah, another daughter, married John Martin of Tyhurst. The marriage 
licence, in 1667, represented Martin as being about 27, and Hannah (of Sevenoaks) 
as about 24, and at own disposal ; to be at St. Clement Danes, or St. Mary Savoy, 
Middlesex. The marriage settlement dated 24th May, 1667, comprised Great 
Nashes and 70a., house and 8a. in Leigh, Little Nashes, and 5a. called Dunmow 
Mead. The trustees were Thomas Woodgate of Chidingstone and William Martin 
of Leigh (brother of John). He also owned property in Sevenoaks and elsewhere, 
some of which he sold to Henry Streatfeild on 24th December, 1686. 

The last of the family (except Thomas of Chidingstone), was Joel Woodgate 
of Penshurst. He gave ^^5 to the poor of Penshurst and the residue (subject to 
trifling legacies) to wife Sarah, executrix. Gilbert Spencer (of Redleaf) and John 
Turner, overseers. Proved 29th June, 1715 (Shoreham Peculiars). 

It seems that he had already provided for his only daughter Sarah, to whom 
he gave {6 for mourning. In 1702 his daughter Ann Woodgate was buried. There 
is a statement in the Register of Burials that she " was worth ;^5o per annum " 
though her father was still living. 




William Woodgate of Stonewall, third son of Peter Woodgate of Stonewall, 
married in 1602 Joanna daughter and heiress of Andrew Combridge of Chidingstone. 
The settlement was dated ist September, 1602, by which certain lands consisting 
of two houses in Penshurst occupied by Thomas Bates and Humphrie Ware, land 
called the Eyland in Chidingstone and certain lands called Bramsell were by Andrew 
Combridge granted to John Turner of Cowden and John Ashdowne, of Chidingstone, 
in trust for the parties to the marriage and their issue subject to the life interest 
of Andrew Combridge. At the same time John Combridge, brother of Andrew, 
settled on his niece a small property called Keysden. Andrew Combridge died in 

The Combridges {a) were an ancient family of Penshurst, descended from Adam 
de Comerugge living temp. Henry III (1216-1272) ; the name in early manuscripts 
is spelt in every conceivable manner, such as Comebrydge, Comerycke, Cumbrege, 
Comerbridge, Comeledge, etc. In early times they wrote themselves De Comberugge, 
and in the 13th century held lands in Penshurst, Speldhurst, Tonbridge, and 
Chidingstone. As the family is so much connected with the Woodgates a pedigree 
is appended. The arms of Combridge are " Gules, a cross moline or between four 
swans with their wings addorsed argent, membered and beaked of the second, each stand- 
ing on a mount vert." These arms were until recent years still remaining in the 
windows of Coldharbour and Hawden, two of the ancient family estates in Penshurst ; 
and should be quartered by all Woodgates descended from William Woodgate. 

William Woodgate continually signs the parish accounts in a clear well-formed 
hand, and for a number of years was churchwarden. He seems to have used sometimes, 
for his seal, the acorn, which perhaps is more properly the family crest than the 
squirrel, sed quaere. In October, 1625, an assessment was made on the parish for 
repairing Chidingstone Church, which had been burnt down the 17th July previously, 
at the rate of sixpence for every house and sixpence an acre. There is a list of the 
82 owners of property and their acreage, amounting to 2,851 acres (not including 

(a) There is a mass of information relating to the Combridges, collected by their descendant Dr. 
Thorpe, the learned author of Registrum Roffenae, now reposing in the archives of the Society of 

Hawden or Harden was purchased by Robert Combridge of one John Holt in 1535, and 
Newhouse otherwise Harts was bought by the Combridges a few years later from WiUiam 
son of Edward Hart. Most of the old names of houses were taken from names of famiUes. 
There existed a " book of accomptes of Anthony Combridge for the frameing and settinge up 
of his house in the year 1590 " ; articles of agreement for building a house for OUver Combridge 
the elder in 1658 ; an account of monies expended by Oliver Combridge the elder deceased 
for the education of OUver, Andrew, and Elizabeth Combridge, from 1666 to 1672 ; deeds, wills, 
inventories, and every sort of document are referred to by Thorpe but are now in most cases 

It is not clear whether the Combridges were entitled to quarter the arms of Luck, on the 
marriage with Alice Luck. They were ''''Ermine, five mascles conjoined in fess between three 
greyhounds with heads erased sable.''' They were quartered by the Thorpe's together with the 
Combridge arms ; but possibly because of the marriage of John Thorpe with the daughter of 
the Rev. John Luck of Mayfield, by his wife Susan Middleton, daughter of Sir Thomas Middleton. 


" outbounders " apparently, i.e. those owning land who lived outside the parish, 
which would increase the total by many hundreds). The largest owners were : — 


Bernard Hyde, Esq. . . . . . . . . . . 200 

William Birsty . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 

Wilham Woodgate [of Stonewall] . . . . . . 100 

Henry Streatfeild . . . . . . 100 

Samuel Godden . . . . . . 100 

John Pigott . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 

Thomas Walter . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 

William Hawkins' Wo. . . 80 

William Woodgate, junr. [of Truggers] . . . . . . 70 

Thomas Brett . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 

Richard Hollamby . . . . . . . . . . 70 

Walter Tye . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 

William Everist . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 

Widow Combridge [of Andrew] . . . . . . . . 65 

The outbounders included : — 

William Everist, senr, . . . . . . . . . . 90 

Matthew Ashdowne . . . . 80 

Robert Streatfeild 70 

William Woodgate's land is stated to consist of loa. meadow, 70a. pasture, and 20a. 

wood. This is not altogether satisfactory ; for there is no arable land mentioned. 

Besides which, Stonewall alone comprised 200 acres, and William owned considerable 

property besides, which was worth altogether ^^200 a year. 

He died at Stonewall, on 24th August, 1638 and was buried at Chidingstone. 
On his death an Inquisition Post Mortem was held, to ascertain what lands of his 
were held of the King in capite; the jury returned that the only lands held in capite 
consisted of a house and 100 acres occupied by John Bassett, two houses in Chiding- 
stone, one of which was occupied by Thomas Ledett, and the capital messuage in 
which he himself dwelt {h). 

His will (the first extant will of the Stonewall branch) dated 15th August, 1638, 
begins in the quaint style of the period " I bequeath my soule to Almightie God 
(who gave it mee) and to Jesus Christe my onlie Savioure and redeemer by whose 
death and passion I fullie trust to have all my sinnes freelie forgiven and to attain 
to the joy full resurrection of eternall life committing my bodie to the earth from 
whence it was taken to be buried in the Church of Chidingstone aforesaid " He 
gives £5 to the poor of the parish, small legacies to his god-children, William Streat- 
feild (his grandson), William Winter, William Trendle, and Thomas Fulman ; his 
cousin Elizabeth Bennett, and his servant Edward Bannister ; ^^150 to his son Andrew 
together with various goods such as " a bedsted with a canopy " ; his grey colt and 
all his goods in Frenden House to his son Thomas ; his piebald mare and other 
goods to his daughter Sarah Streatfeild ; and the residue of his personal estate to his 
son John, the sole executor. As to his lands, he gives to his second son Thomas, 
a house and lands called Knights in Penshurst, occupied by his brother in-law, William 
Wallis, the lands called Great Muddings, Keysden, the Eyland near Chafford Bridge, 
and a small house and garden at Penshurst. (These lands were of the value of 
£70 a year). To his son Andrew he gives a house and land called Skipreed, lands 
called Old Reedes, Yeoman lands, Barne Mead, Clouds Meade, and the house in 
Penshurst occupied by Thomas Leddall. As he had akeady settled Stonewall, 
containing 200 acres, upon John the eldest son, he only gave him the house occupied 
by Thomas Levett. Wilham Wallis and Robert Streatfeild were the trustees, 
and the will was proved 12th October, 1638, in the Shoreham Peculiars. 

(6) Inq. Post M. (P.R.O.) 15 Chas. I, c. vol. 494, No. 73. 



It must be remembered that in 1638 money was very much more valuable than 
it is to-day. One pound in the time of Henry VIII was equal to £6 in the reign of 
Queen Anne, and £10 in the reign of George III. The legacies under this will must 
therefore be multiphed by about 10 before a proper estimate of their value can be 
formed. By this standard William Woodgate's personal property consisted of £20,000 
and he had land worth £2,000 a year. 

On WiUiam's death John succeeded to Stonewall, and two suits in chancery 
began. In the first, Thomas Woodgate as plaintiff filed his bill of complaint in 
November, 1639, against his brother John. Thomas alleged that the settlement of 
StonewaU was made on condition that John would release certain rights under the 
Combridge marriage settlement ; John in his reply denied this. It does not appear 
that friendly relations between the two brothers were seriously interrupted. 

In the second suit, John Woodgate as plaintiff filed his bill on 20th October, 
1639, against his sister Sarah StreatfeUd and Robert Streatfeild her husband. He 
complains that the Streatfeilds ' ' and Thomas Woodgate, one of the sons of the 
testator, all or some of them being aUwayes dwelling in the house of the said testator 
untni and at the time of his decease," entered all or most of the rooms and 
chambers, chests, trunks, and presses, and took possession of various securities. 
John being married, and keeping house by himself, was a stranger to the estate 
of his father. He beheved that Thomas was indebted to his father. William Wood- 
gate just before his death had received divers sums due to him, such as from William 
Starkey for salt cattle, and from Henry Crittenden for wood. The personal estate 
should have amounted to £2,ooo,which Thomas Woodgate admitted, but he said in 
reply that he only borrowed £10 or £11. Sarah Streatfeild said she had only taken 
an old taffeta apron which used to belong to her mother and which had been 
promised to her. All parties wrote good hands. 

John Woodgate had married in his father's lifetime Sarah daughter of Robert 
Streatfeild, of Chested, Penshurst, sister of the above-mentioned Robert (c). 
WUliam Woodgate desiring to advance his son in marriage, by deed dated loth June, 
1637, conveyed Stonewall and the appm-fenances (some 200 acres) to Robert Streat- 
feild and Wniiam Walhs in trust for himself for hfe, and after his death for John 
Woodgate absolutely. During his father's lifetime John lived at Frenden House, 
but on the death of his father removed to Stonewall. 

(c) The Streatfeilds are one of the good old f amiUes of Kent and stiU retain all their original property 
at Chidingstone and the neighbourhood. Their principal residence at Chidingstone was known as 
High Street House — presumably because the street that runs through the village is on a high 
elevation and not because the place was ever important enough to possess a " High Street." 
The family have owned the house since 1550 ; it has since been rebuilt. A large engraving of 
it appeared in Harris' History of Kent. 

One of the family, the Rev. Thomas Streatfeild of Charts Edge, a man who spent his life 
in collecting materials for a history of Kent, observes : — 

' ' Though I have hitherto failed to deduce the pedigree from an earlier source than temp. 
Henry VII (namely Robert Streatfeild, who married, as already mentioned, the sister of Sir 
John Rivers), the family appears to have been settled in and about Hever for several generations 
previously." He traces the name from the borough of Stretfield in Surrey, he thinks in Brede ; 
though Mr. R. Carter Smith deiuced it from ' 'Streit des felde." 

Perhaps it was unnecessary to go so far afield. It seems that there was some land in Pens- 
burst named Strattefield ; for in 1561 William Hart of Tonbridge sold to Robert Combridge of 
Penshurst, property called the Sandfields and four pieces of land called respectively the Garden, 
the Streake, Strattefield, and another. (See Thorpe's collection at the Society of Antiquaries). 

As the name so continually recurs, a pedigree has been appended. It has not been possible 
to provide a complete pedigree with all the ramifications, as the family was as numerous as that 
of the Woodgates ; but it is sufficient to identify most of the family that are referred to. 

The arms of the family are "Per /ess, gules and sable, three bezants, two and one." The arms 
used by Henry Streatfeild of Chidmgstone (died 1762) on his coach were Streatfeild quartering 
Fremlyn and Ashdowne, and displaying those of Beard in a shield of pretence. The Streatfeilds 
of Cransted differenced their coat by a label ; those of Westerham by a canton vair ; those of 
Delaware by a label of four points ermine ; those of Sevenoaks by a mullet, and those of Hever 
by a crescent. 


John Woodgate came in for the troublous scenes of the Civil War. Kent 
declared strongly for the Parliament, but the Woodgates appear to have been divided 
in their sympathies. There is an absurd tradition in the family that the Woodgates 
fought for the King and were punished for their loyalty by the loss of their motto ! 
It is said that the motto was "Spe, Diligentia, Numine," but that no motto was 
used until the last century, when it was revived. " Esse quam videri " is also stated 
to have been the original motto. 

Such an account is not likely to satisfy a genuine inquirer, who might with reason 
require the consideration of authoritative documents. From these it appears that 
Chidingstone was mulcted successively in tax, fine, voluntary contribution, ticket, 
excise, and sequestration. In 1643, for instance, the following sums were raised : — 

£ s. d. 

" Collected by Robert Goughue [Goodhugh] 
and Thomas Birsty, a tax for the raising 
of Volunteers otherwise called the propor- 
tion made by the sub-committee.. .. 93 11 o 

Collected by Walter Tickner and John Wood- 
gatt, a shiUing tax, paid to Coll. Boothby 104 11 3 

' ' Collected by Michael Bassett and Clement 
Basden, shilling tax, paid to Mr. Whit- 
ting . . . . . . . . . . . . no 6 6 

Collected by Thomas Backett [Bassett] and 
Robert Streatfeild, paid to Mr. Whitting, 
two shilling tax . . . . . . . . 220 19 8 

Collected by Thomas Rodgers and William 
Woodgate [of Truggers] , paid to Mr. Whit- 
ting, the 5th and 20th parts . . . . 348 o 

Collected by Edward Beecher and John Norris 
paid to Coll. Boothby, a tax for 13 weeks. . 69 8 11 

£946 17 4 

Even modern taxation is made by comparison to appear inconsiderable ! 

The parson of Chidingstone, the Rev. Edward PoweU, a staunch Royalist, 
was sequestrated from the living in November, 1643, by Thomas Birsty and Robert 
Goodhugh ; and the Rev. Thomas Seyliard, M.A., put into possession, allowing 
Powell one-fifth of the income. The Seyliards of Delaware were the principad 
people in the neighbourhood at this time. The parishioners, however, who were 
mostly Royalists, refused to pay him tithes and the unfortunate minister was 
reduced to dire straits. 

The Hydes were particularly active in the Parliamentary cause. Bernard 
Hyde, of Bore Place, in Chidingstone, one of the Commissioners of Customs, raised 
large sums in Chidingstone for the Parliament, in which he was assisted by his 
brother John. He died in 1655 and his son was created a baronet by Charles II, 
soon after his accession. 

The Woodgates of Stonewall appear to have been Royalists, though one of the 
family, Captain Woodgate, commanded a troop of horse under the Parliament. This 
troop and others like it plundered the inhabitants without much discrimination, 
certainly not exempting the Woodgates and their relatives from their attentions. 


The following is a list of those who lent money to the state, i.e., to Parliament, upon 

ticket " about 1642. 

John Seyliard, Esq. 

Henry Streatfeild, Gent. 

More to the committy, at Westerham 
More to the committy at Aylesford 

WUliam Reeve, Gent. 

Wilham Woodgate, [of Truggers] 

Robert Goughue . . 

Robert Ashdowne 

Michael Bassett . . 

William Everest, junior . 

Thomas Woodgatte (d) 

Robert Streatfeild 

Richard Streatfeild, Gent. 












£243 o o 

With this must be read the list of those who paid a fine to Coll. Boothby amounting 
to £253. Amongst whom are : — £ s. d. 

Henry Streatfeild .. .. .. .. .. 500 

William Woodgatt . . . . . . . . 10 o o 

Robert Goughue . . 30 o o 

Robert Ashdowne . . . . . . . . 20 o o 

Thomas Bassett . . . . . . . . . . 15 o o 

William Everest, junr. . . . . . . . . 10 o 

Thomas Woodgatt . . . . . . . . 30 o o 

Robert Streatfeild . . . . , . . . 30 o 

Walter Woodgate . . . . . . . . . . 10 o o 

Observe that there is no Seyliard or Hyde, and that Henry Streatfeild escapes with 
£5 only. John Woodgate of Stonewall neither " lends " money, nor pays fine ! 




Then there is a list of those plundered in 1643 : — 
From Walter Woodgate . . 

Thomas Woodgate, in money 

„ William Wallis 

Robert StreatfeOd, in money 
Do. more for redeeming 2 horses . . 
Do. more in linen and other goods to the 

value of . . 
Do. one mare stagg, which the said Robert 

Streatfeild was offered for 
Do. one mare more, worth . . 
„ John Woodgatt, one sword 
„ William Everest, one horn 
„ Mr. Powell, one mare 

Thomas Backett, one sword and belt . . 

Walter Tickner charged upon free quarter 
with man and horse by Captain Wood- 
gatt himself 

(a) All the preceding plundered by Capt. Bonnett 

(6) Plundered by Capt. Westroo, Captain under Sir MiU Lusse. 

(c) This and the next plundered by Capt. Woodgatt. 

(d) By Sir Michael Lusse's Capt. Lieut. 

(e) By a sergeant of Capt. Woodgatt' s. 

10 O 




8 4 



8 4 

(d) Younger brother of John Woodgate of Stonewall. 


One thousand Volunteers, and also such troops of horse as should be subscribed 
for, were to be raised in Kent, according to a Declaration of 30th May, 1643. None 
were to be of the trained bands. The Lord Lieutenant was to nominate a Major 
General and to give battle against all forces raised without the consent of Parliament. 
These forces were not to go out of the county without special leave. Tonbridge Castle 
was seized for the Parliament and fortified ; £6 10 o of the expense was charged 
upon the inhabitants of Chidingstone. In 1646 the Committee at Maidstone (of 
whom John Rivers and Thomas Seyliard were two), had the fortifications dismantled 
and the materials sold for ;^I40. 

Other items of interest are the disbursements of Henry Streatfeild, which include 
' ' a horse taken from him by order of the committy, delivered to Capt. Woodgate's 
Lieutenant, £12 " ; John Seyliard's disbursements ; and Mr. Hyde's contributions, 
amounting to about ;^6oo. The latter include : — 

Freely given to the committee at Knowle . . ;f 200 o o 

Lent to Deputy Lieutenants at Westerham for 

finding a horse . . . . . . . . 20 o o 

A black horse and arms sent out under Major 
Welden. The arms weare lost and the horse 
not worth £5 at his return. 
More for one volunteer to Mr. Whitting . . . . 300 

For the bringing in of our brethren the Scots. . . 40 o o 

A number of persons joined in finding arms " after ^^3 an arms for the raising of 
Volunteers." John Seyliard, Richard Streatfeild, Robert Streatfeild, Robert Good- 
hugh, Thomas Woodgatt, William Wallis and Michael Winter, Widdow Woodgatt, 
and others each paid £3 ; William Walter, and John Woodgate and others paid less. 
Andrew, youngest brother of John Woodgate of Stonewall, died in September, 
1641, aged 22, and was buried at Westerham. John Woodgate of Stonewall also 
died in his prime, and was buried at Chidingstone, in 1643, aged 41. Whether either 
of them was killed in an affray we do not know, but apparently no property of the 
Woodgates was forfeited in any way. We do not know who the Capt. Woodgate was ; 
he may have been one of the Woodgates of Penshurst. One Edward Woodgate was 
very active in the Parhamentary cause and was instrumental in discovering a 
Royalist plot. 

No will of John Woodgate can be found ; but in the parochial books Richard 
Streatfeild his brother-in-law, and Thomas Woodgate his brother are assessed on 
behalf of the heirs of John Woodgate, so there must have been some testamentary 
instrument. Sarah Woodgate, the widow, re-married in 1647 John Ashdowne 
the Younger of Hever, son of John Ashdowne of Hever and Chidingstone {e). 

(f) The Ashdowne? were an old Chidingstoae family. They figure in one of the visitations of Kent 
(date uncertain) as being descended from Henry AshdowTie of Chidingstone and Agnes his wife 
the daughter of Peter Manning of Chidingstone, a lady of twelve quarterings. Their eldest son 
Bartholomew married Maria daughter of Henry Pratt of Oundle, Northants. The Ashdowne 
arms are " Argent, a hon rampant gules, coUared or and lingued azure." 

John Ashdowne the elder of Chidingstone, Lord of the Manor of Lewisham, Cowden, 
(as to one moiety), left issue by Joan his wife : — 

(a) John the younger of Hever, married Sarah daughter of Richard Streatfeild, relict 
of John Woodgate of Stonewall : left issue Henry, buried 1657 at Chidingstone, and 
Sarah, daughter and heiress, married Henry Streatfeild. 
(6) Ann, married Henry Pigott of Chidingstone, and left issue IJficholas and four daughters. 

(c) WiUiam, succeeded to the Manor. 

(d) Richard, who left issue Anne, John, and Henry, the latter of whom had left to him by 
his grandfather in 1677 an annviity of £14 towards liis expenses at school and at the 

Sarah Woodgate, the only daughter of John Woodgate of Stonewall, married John Ashdowne 
of Rendsley Heath. The marriage licence, dated 2nd June, 1663, describes her as of Penshurst, 
maiden, about 19, with consent of her mother ; John Ashdowne as about 26. To be at Pens- 
hurst, where it was duly solemnised on 11th June. This licence was obtained on the same day 
as that of her brother WiUiam. 

From the parish register of Hever it appears that the Ashdownes lived at Hever Place, 
and Hever Lodge. 


The marriage articles were dated 3rd March, 1647, and Sarah's brother Richard 
Streatfeild was trustee. By these John Ashdowne granted his wife an annual 
rent charge of £15 a year out of Lorkins, Jemmetfield, Lorkins Hope, Chidingstone 
Cross and 28a. in Penshurst ; and by a deed dated the next day John Ashdowne 
the father in consideration of the marriage settled the above-mentioned lands, 
together wdth a house in Chidingstone, occupied by Richard Streatfeild, 
Kitchen Croft, Martin's Field (loa.) and Hallfield (14a.) on his son subject to his 
own hfe interest in part of the lands. The following year the father made further 
settlements on his son, including the moiety of his manor in Cowden. 

John Ashdowne the younger, died intestate in 1654, and his widow took out letters 
of administration on 20th October. His personal estate exceeded £500 in value ; 
and from the inventory of effects we note the names of the rooms of his house at 
Hever, namely :— the hall, parlour, old parlour, drink buttery and room adjoining, 
brew house, chamber over brew-house, chamber over entry, chamber over hall, milk 
house and chamber over, cheese press house, and chamber over, chamber over par- 
lour, and chamber and garret over old parlour. Among the effects are a fowling 
piece, two swords, and two belts. Sarah Ashdowne died in 1686 and was buried 
at Hever. The only surviving child of her second marriage, Sarah Ashdowne, 
married Henry Streatfeild of High Street House, whose descendants the Streatfeilds 
of Chidingstone are entitled to quarter the Ashdowne arms. 

To return to the family at Stonewall. Wilham the eldest son {ee), who was only 
four years old at his father's death, was brought up at Hever and eventually married 
Alice, only surviving daughter of Richard Streatfeild of High Street House (with whom 
he had a handsome portion) and sister of Henry who married Sarah Ashdo^vne as 
already mentioned. The marriage licence was dated 2nd June, 1663, and authorised 
the wedding to be at St. Pancras, Soper Lane, London. 

William Woodgate inherited Stonewall and the family estates, subject to his 
mother's dower ; and by his careful conduct very considerably increased their extent. 
William's uncle Thomas had died when William was about 22, leaving him considerable 
benefits ; but he took more largely under the will of his uncle Richard Streat- 
feild of Chested, who died in 1679. It is somewhat curious that, of his two rich 
bachelor uncles, his uncle Woodgate should have left so much to the Streatfeilds, 
and that his uncle Streatfeild should have left most of his property to the Wood- 

Thomas Woodgate, by his will dated i6th November, 1656, being then " very 
sick and weak," left £5 to the poor of Chidingstone ; ;^50 each to his nephews, William 
and Richard Streatfeild ; ^^loo to his nieces Joan and Sarah Streatfeild, and £200 to 
his niece Susan Streatfeild ; and the rest of his personalty (except 20/- to his servant 
William Winter, and three small legacies) to his sister Sarah Streatfeild, whom he made 
sole executrix. His uncle William Walhs and Michael Bassett were appointed 
overseers. As to his lands, he left Skipreed, Frenden, and other property to his 

{ee) John, the other son, seems to have married EUzabeth Beecher (Hasted). On 4th June, 1674, 
a John Woodgate married Elizabeth Beecher, at Cudham ; and this probably is the John in 
question. He seems to have died very soon afterwards. 

The Beechers were an old family of Penshurst. One of them, Henry, was Alderman and 
Sheriff of London in 1570. He died in 1571, leaving issue by Ahce Heron his wife (sister of Sir 
Nicholas Keron of Edgecombe) Edward ; Bartholomew, who died in Ireland ; Henry, married 
Edith daughter of John Riche, Apothecary to Queen Ehzabeth ; and three daughters. Edward 
Beecher, the eldest, married Frances rehct of Francis Coppinger and reUct of Thomas Lord 
Burgh, K.G., Lord Deputy of Ireland. Seymer Coppinger, her second son, and eventually heir 
to his mother, by will dated 1656 devised his estates to William Walter of the Trench, ancestor 
of the Walters of Tonbridge. 

Another branch settled in Bletchingley. Henry, son of James Beecher of Chidingstone, 
married EUzabeth daughter of Edward Baker of Bletchingley, and his son Richard continued 
the family there. The arms are : ' ' Vair, argent and gules, on a canton or a buck's head 
caboshed sable." The family owned Vexsour. Penshurst, and at one time (it seems) Chested. 


sister Sarah Streatfeild for life, and after her death Skipreed was to go to her son 
Robert Streatfeild, and Frenden to his godson and nephew John Woodgate ; and a 
house at Penshurst to nephew Thomas Streatfeild. He left to Wilham Woodgate, 
his nephew Knights, Muddings (in the occupation of William Wallis) and half the 
lands which had descended to him from his brother Andrew, subject however, to ^^50 
to his niece Sarah Woodgate payable at 21 ; the other half of such lands he left to 
his nephew John Woodgate. The will was proved by Sarah Streatfeild, at London, 
nth April, 1660. 

Richard Streatfeild, the other uncle, left all his personal estate to his nephew 
William Woodgate, except ^^5 to the poor of Penshurst and £5 to the poor of Chid- 
ingstone, £100 each to his sisters Sarah Ashdowne and Obedience Leigh, and £100 
each to his nephews William, Richard, and Thomas Streatfeild, and £100 to his kins- 
man Richard Streatfeild of High Street House. William Woodgate was made sole 
executor. Chested in Penshurst, Gildredge (/), Buckhurst in the occupation of 
William Woodgate, Seedrobs, and divers other lands in Chidingstone, Penshurst, 
Lankerton Green, Kent and Sussex, were left to William Woodgate for his life and 
after his death to his son Richard Woodgate. 

This will was a bitter disappointment to the three Streatfeild nephews. 
Wilham of Delaware, Richard of Ford Place, Chidingstone, and Thomas of Vexsons, 
Penshurst, who were induced to contest the will, but without success Richard 
had, they alleged, " oftentimes said in his lifetime that he would give and devise 
all his lands and tenements to them and their heirs " ; they were astounded when 
' ' Mr. Henry Streatfeild did tell them of the death of the said Richard Streatfeild, 
and that he had made a will and did show them a paper writing which he the said 
Henry Streatfeild did say was the will and did read some part thereof to them." 

William Woodgate in 1693 purchased the Manor and lands of Bokinfold, lying 
in the parishes of Yalding, Brenchley, Horsemonden, and Goudhurst. The ancient 
mansion house had been visited by Edward I and was at one time surrounded by 
a dense forest called the Forest of Buckenwald. For further particulars of this 
property the reader is referred to Hasted's History of Kent. 

William Woodgate likewise purchased Ferbies in Speldhurst, an ancient property 
that gave the name to the family that owned it, for particulars of which reference 
also is made to Hasted. He settled it on Sarah, his only daughter, in marriage 
with William Durrant of Great Street, Framfield, Sussex {g). 

(/) There is an old counterpart of lease in possession of the family, dated 28th September, 1769, 
whereby the Rev. Francis Woodgate, of Mountfieid demised unto Richard Delves of Tunbridge 
Wells, Butcher, for 1 1 years at an annual rent of £48 the messuage and farm called Gildredge 
with buildings, etc., and 80a. in Chidingstone, reserving all timber, minerals, royalties, and rights 
of hunting, hawking, and fishing. 

(g) The Durrants are an ancient family of Framfield and like the Stones and Peckhams were originally 
Dissenters. There was a meeting house in the parish near Little Street, which was frequented 
by most of the inhabitants, until Mr. Wharton became vicar (1728-1771). His courteous 
behaviour and careful avoidance of personal reflections on those who differed from him in points 
of religion procured him general esteem, induced the principal dissenters to hear him preach, 
and finally reconciled them to a constant attendance, so that the meeting house became 
neglected and was soon afterwards pulled down. The Durrants, however, were baptised and married 
in the parish church, and were buried in the churchyard beneath the East window, where there 
existed several altar monuments to their memory nearly two hundred years ago ; they were 
then ruinous and probably are now gone. 

There is a tradition that Framfield Church Tower fell on a Sunday evening in 1667, soon after 
service. The following year the foundations of a new belfry were laid, but after some progress 
the work was stopped on the pretence that the inhabitants were unable to bear the expense. 
The truth was, that the Durrants, Stones, and Peckhams, who were the principal people in the 
place, would not allow the work to proceed. The initials D and S are carved on the N.W. angle, 
being those of the churchwardens Durrant and Stone. 

The other principal families were the Peckhams of Arches, with whom the Durrants frequently 
intermarried ; Gages of Bently ; Wamets of Hempsted ; and Smiths of Little Street and 


William Woodgate's eldest son was John ; he married Rose Birsty, the ' ' fair 
Rose of Kent," and was the first Woodgate of Summerhill, but for the present that 
subject must be postponed. The next son, William Woodgate of Chidingstone, 
married Hannah Coney of Sevenoaks, but died without issue at a comparatively 
early age. 

Henry the third son was, as far as we know, the first attorney in the family. 
He settled at Gouldhurst, where the Bokinfold property lay, and made various 
purchases of land there and elsewhere, which seems to suggest that he carried on a 
flourishing practice (A). He married Lydia, daughter of Thomas Cromp of Maidstone, 

Highlands, which was purchased by WilHam Durrani, who left it to his second son Robert. 
The eldest son, also named William, hved at Great Street and died without issue in 1775 ; his 
widow continued to hve there till her death. Robert Durrant, who lived with his uncle Stephen 
Woodgate at Sevenoaks until the latter's death in 1754, was the last of the family ; there is a 
marble Tablet on the north wall of the nave at Framfield : — 

" In a vault beneath are deposited the remains of Robert Durrant, Esq., who died December 
13th, 1799, at the advanced age of 84 years. By a regular course of temperance and moderation, 
he enjoyed his health and faculties with less interruption than usually falls to the lot of humanity. 
His manners were unassuming ; his integrity unsullied. This monument was erected by his 
grateful nephews WiUiam, Thomas, John, and Henry Woodward, to whom he bequeathed the 
bulk of his property." 

Richard Durrant of Great Street, Framfield, bu. 24th May, 1714. Left issue 

1. WiUiam, of whom presently. 

2. John, bu. 3rd February, 1696. 

3. (? Elizabeth m. 25th November, 1714, Edmund Calverley of Framfield and had issue.) 
William of Great Street, hving 1727, m. at Withyam 23rd December, 1707, Sarah, daughter 

of WiUiam Woodgate of Stonewall, High Sheriff of Kent, b. 1677, and had issue 

1. WiUiam of Great Street, bapt. 30th September, 1708, d. 1775 s.p. 

2. Sarah, bapt. 8th December, 1711, m. 8th March, 1742, WiUiam Peckham of Arches, 
Framfield, Lord of the Manor of Peckhams and Arches. He d. 27th August, 1770, 
aged 50 ; she 11th January, 1776, leaving 

(a) Sarah, m. Rev. WiUiam Woodward, M.A., Rector of Plumptre. He d. 
26th February, 1786, aged 43 ; she 1st May, 1823, aged 79, leaving 
Sarah, WiUiam, Thomas of Highlands, John of Great Street, and 

(6) Mary, m. Rev. Henry Courthope, M.A., Vicar of Brenchley. 

3. John bapt. 9th June, 1713, bu. 30th August, 1742. ("Doctor.") 

4. Robert of Highlands, Framfield, bapt. 12th November, 1715, d. unm. 13th 

December, 1799. 

5. Richard, bapt. 4th October, 1716, bu. 15th February, 1728. 

6. Stephen, bapt. 11th December, 1719, bu. 18th May, 1723. 
The foUowing are extracts from Framfield Registers : — 

Isaden (?) son of James Durrant. 

Anne daughter of Nicholas and Martha Durrant. 

Giles Durrant and Bridget Peckham. 

John Peckham and Sarah Durrant. 

Magnus Byrne and Mary Durrant. 

Mr. Durrant and Mary Jenkins, l>oth of Rotherfield. 

Nicholas Durrant. 

Nicholas Durrant, infant. 

Mrs. Lucy Durrant. 

{h) Henry Woodgate died at Goudhurst in 1714, in liis forty-sixth year, leaving six children of whom 
John the eldest son was then only fifteen. Letters of administration were taken out by his son 
WiUiam on 26th April, 1721. The children were apparently brought up at StonewaU by their 
grandfather, who refers in his will to " the chest of hnen brought from Goudhurst." There is 
in existence an old book of StonewaU days marked with some of their names : " Wm. Woodgate," 
"Lydia Woodgate," " Seth Palmer," "Mrs. Ann Stretfeld." Henry Woodgate seems 
to have been a man of considerable fortune. Part of the inheritance which devolved on his 
children was a succession of suits in chancery. 

The first was in 1732 against WiUiam Tempest of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-law, respecting 
a small property at Hartley Quarter, Cranbrook, and some 34a. of woodlands in Cranbrook near 
the Beggar's Oak, which Woodgate had purchased of Thomas Austen in 1709. Woodgate died 
intestate in 1714, leaving John aged 15, WiUiam aged 12, and Henry aged 8, and " no one to 



July 11. 
June 28. 



May 26. 
Feb. 9. 
May 9. 
Dec. 23. 



Feb. 5. 
May 18. 
Nov. 3. 

note on; 

iBil>fo9*I IwsM k) oaAHaaTafl?/ nmsB 

.91010 48 k* 

.4- IT I <.»9n .riJr.l 






^jo.ii ..I..-. ..-: 


.8671 ..raau 

















m. James 


Nicholas Cromi 
of Maidstone. 

Rev. John Crompe~Anne 
of Maidstone. 
WiU dated 1667. 

I I I 

John Henry Thomas 

m. Sir 



d. unm. 

of T 
bu, lltBge. 

Ann^James Fbemlh 
d. in 1754. 


Lydia. William 

bapt. 16th bapt. 27th 

Dec, 1725, Apl.,1727, 
bu. 23rd bu. 1st 

Dec, 1725. ApL, 1728. 

Henry WooDGATEr Sarah Swa 

of St. Faith's, of Tonbridf 


bapt. 1st Dec, 


m. at Tonbridge, 

5th Jan., 1760. 

Sarah T John Floyd 


Sarah Floyd. 


whose ancestor John Crompe of Farley, Sussex, married Joan, daughter of Sir Martin 

look after their interests." Tempest and his son-in-law James Beckett of Cranbrook, Surgeon, 
claimed the whole property under an old mortgage made by the Austens. Beckett describes 
the woodlands as a " poor sandy hungry sort of land, known and charged by the name of Starve 

The next suit was in 1737, against David Fuller of Maidstone, Esq. Woodgate had purchased 
40a. of wood lands called -'The Woodlands " at Marden of one Thomas Stephens for £320, subject 
to a mortgage to Nicholas Amhurst, Gent., which Woodgate paid off and had transferred to the 
Rev. John Crompe to attend the inheritance, and subject to two annuities of £5 each. The annuities 
became vested in Fuller who claimed in respect of them. The lands had been let from 1715 
to 1731 to John EUis at £18 per annum. 

There was also a suit in 1707 between Henry W'oodgate and George Walker of Sitting- 
bourne, Gent. Walker sold to Woodgate on Boxing Day, 1704, two farms containing 36a. of 
land and 15a. of woodland, at Marden, adjoining other land of Henry Woodgate. After the sale, 
one Thomas Jeffreys and others set up a claim to the land prior to Walker's ; Walker, who 
was one of Woodgate's chents, asked Woodgate to brief John Higham, a barrister, to defend the 
ejectment suit at Assizes, when the plaintiffs were nonsuited. Woodgate himself attended the 
trial. Complications then ensued between Woodgate and Walker. Among the statement of 
accounts are " Paid to Mr. Higham, £7 10 6 ; Paid by Mr. Durrant £5." 

John Woodgate, Henry's eldest son, died intestate and unmarried in 1722, and letters of 
administration of his estate were granted to his brother William. The lands therefore descended 
by gavelkind to WiUiam and Henry equally. Some of the land (namely two houses, 115 acres 
of arable, 60 acres meadow, 80 acres pasture, and 5 acres woodland, in Bokingfold) was con- 
veyed by Henry Woodgate in 1710 to John Streatfeild of Penshurst, Gent., as Trustee ; and in 
1721 the same John Streatfeild and Sarah his wife, by the direction of WiUiam Woodgate, 
conveyed three houses and about 20 acres ' ' with the spring of water in the hollow field near the 
mast pit " at or near Mount Pleasant, Tunbridge Wells, to Thomas Jordan, Citizen and Turner 
of London. 

Henry Woodgate likewise owned three houses in Stone Street, Maidstone, between the 
small bridge and a place called Wren's, and 8 acres at Tovell in Maidstone. Also a house and 80 
acres in Ulcomb, which afterwards belonged to the youngest son, Henry. 

The second son Wilham became a merchant, first at Westerham ( 1721 ) and then at Tonbridge; 
but liis business never prospered, and was eventually bought on his death by his uncle Stephen 
Woodgate, of Sevenoaks, to save it from creditors, and by him given to Wilham's son John 
in 1750. Stephen died in 1754 and on 30th November of that year John entered into 
partnership with his mother Margaret, who seems to have been a woman of capacity and had 
carried on the business for some years. By her will, dated 4th December, 1754, and proved 14th 
January, 1761, she left everything to her daughter Anne Woodgate, whom she made sole executrix. 

Of the daughters, Lydia and Sarah died immarried ; the tliird, Ann, married James Frem- 
ling and had issue. Sarah lived at Sevenoaks. By her will dated 10th September, 1759, she 
gave one guinea to each maidservant hving with her at the time of her death. £5 to cousin 
Susanah Hynes (daughter of uncle Thomas Woodgate), 10/- each to ten poorest inhabitants of 
Sevenoaks, £200 to niece Ann Woodgate (daughter of late brother, William), £100 to niece 
Ann Weatherall, £100 each to great nieces Ann and Sarah Floyd, all wearing apparel to nieces 
Ann Woodgate and Sarah Floyd, hnen to sister Lydia Woodgate for life, then to four nieces ; 
all other furniture in her newly built house at Sevenoaks to Lydia for hfe, then to the Floyds ; 
New Tye in Chidingstone and Heaver (some 100 acres). Low Buckhurst in Chidingstone and 
Heaver, and Nespridges in Heaver, to Lydia Woodgate for Hfe and then to her three nephews 
Henry and John Woodgate and James Fremling ; Farm at Cocum Hill, Westerham, to be sold. 
Residue to Henry Woodgate, James Fremhng, and Sarah Floyd, Henry Woodgate and James 
Fremhng, executors. Will proved 5th April, 1760, by Henry Woodgate alone. 

The farm at Cocum Hill was sold for £580. Sarah Woodgate left, as part of her estate, 
the sum of £500 lent on mortgage of tolls to the Trustees of Tonbridge Turnpikes. 

The other son, Henry, became a prosperous Citizen and Stationer of London. He married 
in 1731 at St. Paul's Cathedral, with Archbishop's hcence, Ann daughter of Joseph Downing 
of St. Bartholomew the Great, being himself described as of St. Magnus the Martyr. Her marriage 
portion, paid over to Henry Woodgate was £2,000, in consideration of which Woodgate con- 
veyed the Ulcomb property by settlement dated 8th and 9th December, 1730, to her father, 
and Henry Overton of London as trustees on the usual marriage trusts. Henry soon died 
leaving a widow and two infant children ; administration of his estate was granted to Ann, his 
widow, on 7th August, 1740. The widow died in 1741 in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Great 
leaving £500 to her son Joseph Woodgate, £500 to her daughter Ann Woodgate, £50 to Mrs. 
Mary Fremhng, daughter of John Fremling, and a few small legacies ; her late husband's gold 
watch in black shagreen case, his gold studs, and diamond ring, and her own diamond hoop 
ring to Joseph at 21, and the residue to her honoured mother Martha Downing, the sole executrix, 
who proved the will on the 15th February, 1742. 

^vompB of WraihBions. 



Rbv. John Cromps^ 
of Maidstone. 
WiU dated 1667. 

of Tonbrid 
l)u, mil Sept, 

William Guli.^ Lydia 
Recorder ai 
Town aerk 

Ckompb— Lydia Gull 
d. 16th Oct. 
I 1624. 

Ceompe- Henry Woodoate 
of Goudhurst, 

bapt. at Chidingstone 
13th Oct., 1668, 
bu. at Chidingstone, 
25th. Dec., 

, 1714. 

of East Peckham. 


Citizen and Stationer 

M. 1st Jan., 1731 at St. 
Paul's Cathedral, 

1725. .4pl., 1728. 

bapt 22nd 
Oct.. 1729. 
. 27th Dec. 

daughter of 

Downing, of 
St. Bartholomew 

Joseph Wi 
of St. Eth( 

James Saejh : John Floiu 

bapt. 16th Feb.. 

, 1766. 

whose ancestor John Crompe of Farley, Sussex, married Joan, daughter of Sir Martin 

look after their interests." Tempest and his son-in-law James Beckett of Cranbrook, Surgeon, 
claimed the whole property under an old mortgage made by the Austens. Beckett describes 
the woodlands as a " poor sandy hungry sort of land, known and charged by the name of Starve 

The next suit was in 1737, against David Fuller of Maidstone, Esq. Woodgate had purchased 
40a. of wood lands called •' The Woodlands " at Harden of one Thomas Stephens for £320, subject 
to a mortgage to Nicholas Amhurst, Gent., which Woodgate paid off and had transferred to the 
Rev. John Crompe to attend the inheritance, and subject to two annuities of £5 each. The annuities 
became vested in Fuller who claimed in respect of them. The lands had been let from 1715 
to 1731 to John EUis at £18 per annum. 

There was also a suit in 1707 between Henry Woodgate and George Walker of Sitting- 
bourne, Gent. Walker sold to Woodgate on Boxing Day, 1704, two farms containing 36a. of 
land and 15a. of woodland, at Harden, adjoining other land of Henry Woodgate. After the sale, 
one Thomas Jeffreys and others set up a claim to the land prior to Walker's ; Walker, who 
was one of Woodgate's chents, asked Woodgate to brief John Higham, a barrister, to defend the 
ejectment suit at Assizes, when the plaintiffs were nonsuited. Woodgate himself attended the 
trial. Comphcations then ensued between Woodgate and Walker. Among the statement of 
accounts are " Paid to Hr. Higham, £7 10 6 ; Paid by IVIr. Durrant £5." 

John Woodgate, Henry's eldest son, died intestate and unmarried in 1722, and letters of 
administration of his estate were granted to his brother William. The lands therefore descended 
by gavelkind to WiUiam and Henry equally. Some of the land (namely two houses, 115 acres 
of arable, 60 acres meadow, 80 acres pasture, and 5 acres woodland, in Bokingfold) was con- 
veyed by Henry Woodgate in 1710 to John Streatfeild of Penshurst, Gent., as Trustee ; and in 
1721 the same John Streatfeild and Sarah liis wife, by the direction of WiUiam Woodgate, 
conveyed three houses and about 20 acres ' ' with the spring of water in the hollow field near the 
mast pit " at or near Mount Pleasant, Tunbridge Wells, to Thomas Jordan, Citizen and Turner 
of London. 

Henry Woodgate likewise owned thi-ee houses in Stone Street, Maidstone, between the 
small bridge and a place called Wren's, and 8 acres at Tovell in Haidstone. Also a house and 80 
acres in Ulcomb, which afterwards belonged to the youngest son, Henry. 

The second son Wilham became a merchant, first at Westerham (1721) and then at Tonbridge; 
but his business never prospered, and was eventually bought on his death by his uncle Stephen 
Woodgate, of Sevenoaks, to save it from creditors, and by him given to Wilham's son John 
in 1750. Stephen died in 1754 and on 30th November of that year John entered into 
partnership with his mother Hargaret, who seems to have been a woman of capacity and had 
carried on the business for some years. By her will, dated 4th December, 1754, and proved 14th 
January, 1761, she left everything to her daughter Anne Woodgate, whom she made sole executrix. 

Of the daughters, Lydia and Sarah died unmarried ; the tliird, Ann, married James Frem- 
ling and had issue. Sarah lived at Sevenoaks. By her will dated 10th September, 1759, she 
gave one guinea to each maidservant hving with her at the time of her death. £5 to cousin 
Susanah Hynes (daughter of uncle Thomas Woodgate), 10/- each to ten poorest inhabitants of 
Sevenoaks, £200 to niece Ann Woodgate (daughter of late brother, William), £100 to niece 
Ann WeatheraU, £100 each to great nieces Ann and Sarah Floyd, all wearing apparel to nieces 
Ann Woodgate and Sarah Floyd, linen to sister Lydia Woodgate for life, then to four nieces ; 
all other furniture in her newly built house at Sevenoaks to Lydia for hfe, then to the Floyds ; 
New Tye in Chidingstone and Heaver (some 100 acres), Low Buckhurst in Chidingstone and 
Heaver, and Nespridges in Heaver, to Lydia Woodgate for hfe and then to her three nephews 
Henry and John Woodgate and James Fremling ; Farm at Cocum Hill, Westerham, to be sold. 
Residue to Henry Woodgate, James Fremhng, and Sarah Floyd, Henry Woodgate and James 
Fremhng, executors. Will proved 5th April, 1760, by Henry Woodgate alone. 

The farm at Cocum Hill was sold for £580. Sarah Woodgate left, as part of her estate, 
the sum of £500 lent on mortgage of tolls to the Trustees of Tonbridge Turnpikes. 

The other son, Henry, became a prosperous Citizen and Stationer of London. He married 
in 1731 at St. Paul's Cathedral, with Archbishop's hcence, Ann daughter of Joseph Downing 
of St. Bartholomew the Great, being himself described as of St. Hagnus the Martyr. Her marriage 
portion, paid over to Henry Woodgate was £2,000, in consideration of which Woodgate con- 
veyed the Ulcomb property by settlement dated 8th and 9th December, 1730, to her father, 
and Henry Overton of London as trustees on the usual marriage trusts. Henry soon died 
leaving a widow and two infant children ; administration of his estate was granted to Ann, his 
widow, on 7th August, 1740. The widow died in 1741 in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Great 
leaving £500 to her son Joseph Woodgate, £500 to her daughter Ann Woodgate, £50 to Mrs. 
Mary Fremling, daughter of John Fremhng, and a few small legacies ; her late husband's gold 
watch in black shagreen case, his gold studs, and diamond ring, and her own diamond hoop 
ring to Joseph at 21, and the residue to her honoured mother Hartha Downing, the sole executrix, 
who proved the will on the 15th February, 1742. 


Calthorp, of Hicklinge, son of Sir Martin Calthorp, Lord Mayor of London, who was 
acknowledged by Queen Elizabeth to be her cousin. Henry Woodgate's children, 
therefore were descended from the Plantagenets. The Crompes were a well-known 
family of Maidstone ; John Crompe was Mayor in 162 1, and Thomas Crompe died 
in 1645 during his mayoralty. Thomas married Lydia, daughter of William Gull, 
Town Clerk and Recorder of Maidstone, by Lydia his wife, the sister of Sir Edward 
Whetenhall of East Peckham. 

Thomas Woodgate, the fourth son, was a citizen and "Ironmonger" of 
London, that is, was " free" of the Ironmongers' Company, In those days the 
iron industry flourished exceedingly in Kent and Sussex, notably at Cowden 
and Lamberhurst, The iron rails round St. Paul's Cathedral were forged 
at Lamberhurst, The furnaces belonged to the principal families in the 
county ; and it is probable that there was some connection between Thomas 
Woodgate and the local iron foundries. Even now the numerous deep holes at 
Cowden and elsewhere afford evidence of the former existence of the furnaces. 
Eventually the industry failed owing to the supply of wood, for fuel, becoming 
exhausted, and the competition of iron foundries situated in coal centres. For 
a fuU account of this interesting subject, refer to Archaeologia Cantiana, vol. xxi, 
pp, 308 et seq, 

Thomas Woodgate married Susanna daughter of Thomas Seyliard of Salmans, 
Penshurst, one of the oldest families in the county, descended from Ralph de la 
Seyliards, residing at Seyliards in Hever in the time of King Stephen ; Seyliards 
remained in the family uninterruptedly until Sir Thomas Seyliard sold it about 
1700, to John Petley. (N.B. — Jane Seyliard his sister married Ralph Petley of River- 
head) {i). 

Of these two children, Ann married Thomas Weatherall of London, and Joseph died 
unmarried at an early age, leaving by will dated 5th and proved 11th November, 1756, £500 
to his "dear and honoured grandmother Mrs. Martha Downing as a token of my gratitude to her 
for her care and goodness to me during the whole course of my hfe." £100 to brother-in-law- 
Thomas Weatherall, £50, to aunt Mrs. Anne Home, £50 to friend Mr. John Marsh and £50 to 
kinswoman ^lary Saunders. All his real estate in Kent and elsewhere and the residue of personalty 
to sister Ann Weatherall ; Thomas Weatherall sole executor. Both wills were witnessed by 
Daniel Fox of the Six Clerks Office, Chancery Lane, the family sohcitor. Joseph is described 
as of the Parish of St. Ethelburgha in the City of London, Stationer. 
(i) The Seyhards hved at Seyhards until Robert, eighth in descent from Ralph, made Delaware 
in Brasted his residence. The pedigrees drawn up by Hasted, Streatfeild, and Thorpe all 
conflict in the most essential particulars, but that here given is a compromise between the three. 

WiUiam SeyUard of Delaware, Hever (son of John Seyhard of Delaware and Ahce his wife, 
daughter and heir of Richard Frankhn of Reading) married Dorothy, daughter of WiUiam 
Crownden of TunstaU, and died in 1595, aged 39. His wife, remarried to Michael Beresford 
of Westerham, died in 1613, aged 50, leaving issue 

1. Sir Thomas Seyliard of Delaware. 

2. John Seyliard of Salmans, Penshurst. 

3. Anne, m. William Seyliard of Edenbridge, 

4. Francis. 

5-8. James, William, George, and Ehzabeth ; all dead in 1613. 
John of Salmans, of the Petty Bag Office, Feodary of Kent, bapt. 1580, m. 1632 Frances, 
daughter of John Reeve and widow of Thomas Streatfield of Shoreham, and had issue, 

1. Thomas, of Salmans. 

2. John, of London. 

Thomas, the elder son, married Mary, daughter of Robert Holman of PendhiU, Bletchingley, 
M.P., and left issue 

1. John of Pendhill of whom presently. 

2. Susanna, m. at Penshurst 16th December, 1695, Thomas Woodgate of London 

(b. 1670, bu. 4th October, 1706, at Chidingstone) and had issue. 

3. Mary, bapt. 1656, m. 1678 Richard Antrobus of London. 

4. Frances, m. Waldron of London. 

5. Anne, m. Rev. Kidby of Essex. 

6. Thomas of Penshurst, M.D., bapt. 1653. s.p. 


The fifth surviving son was Richard, the devisee in remainder under the will of 

John of Pendhill m. Margaret, daughter of Jeffery Amherst of Riverhead, Bencher of 
Gray's Inn, and died 5th February, 1745, aged 83. (She died 23rd November, 1712, aged 58) 

1. John Seyhard of Pendhill, m. 1737, Aime Htmt, and died at Wateringbury, 1750, 

leaving one child, Anne, who died in 1760, aged 12. 

2. Margaret, m. Pellat. 

3. Ehzabeth. 

4. Annabella. 

5. Thomas of London, had issue Hester Wade Seyliard, heiress of Pendhill, who 

married George Scullard of London. 
Sir Thomas Seyliard of Delaware m. Ehzabeth Beaumont of Gracedieu, and had issue 
1. Sir John. 

2-6. Ehzabeth, Sarah, Ann, Mary, and Dorothy. 
Sir John Seyhard, Bart., of Chidingstone, married the daughter of Brocket of Herts., and 
had issue 

1. Sir Thomas. 

2. Jane, m. Ralph Petley of Riverhead. 

3. Eleanor, m. Richard Farewell, Barrister. 

4. Mary, m. George Robinson. 

Sir Thomas, of Boxley Abbey, m. 1st Frances only daughter and heir of Sir Francis Wyatt 
of Boxley, by whom he left issue 

1. Sir Thomas of Boxley Abbey, m. Ehzabeth Fortescue, and died leaving two children 

Margaret and Ehzabeth, both s.p. 
He married secondly Margaret daughter of Phihp, Lord Wharton, and had issue 

2. Philadelphia. 

John Seyliard of the Petty Bag Office purchased Salmans in 1638 of Sir Thomas Willoughby, 
Justice of the Common Pleas. He was Feodary of Kent, and married Frances, daughter of John 
Reeve and widow of Thomas Streatfeild, son of Richard Streatfeild of Chidingstone. In the 
chancel at Chidingstone there is a very fine freestone altar tomb, faced and topped with black 
marble, and a long Latin inscription to her memory. 

". . . Viris duobus juncta, Thomae Streatfeildo priics 
Deinde Johanni Seyliard, utrisq bonos 
Natalis sortitis et honestas familias 
AmhoV chara pariter et faecunda fuit. . . ," 
Facing the nave are three achievements of arms ; the first Streatfeild impahng Reeve; the 
second Seyliard (azure, a chief ermine, a crescent or for difference) impahng Reeve ; the third, 
Seyliard and eight quarterings. The last letters on the monument are indistinct ; but the arms 
are beautifully clear, having been repainted by Miss Bracebridge of Atherton (whose mother 
had been Harriet Streatfeild of Chidingstone) in 1816. 

Thomas Seyhard of Salmans, his son, married Mary, daughter and heiress of Robert Holman 
of PendhiU, Blechingley, M.P. for Surrey in 1654 ; his ancestor Sir John Holman was standard 
bearer at Bosworth Field. Of their children, Susanna married Thomas Woodgate, and John 
succeeded to Salmans and Pendhill, but took up his abode at Pendhill and married Margaret 
daughter of Jeiirey Amhurst of Riverhead, Bencher of Gray's Inn. Salmans is a house yet 
standing, large and comfortable and typically Kentish ; it frequently figures in the Old English 
paintings of Dendy Sadler. PendhiU was a fine gabled house of a different character altogether, 
something after the style of Summerhill ; there is a large plate of it in Bray's Surrey. 

Thomas Woodgate hved in the parish of St. Sepulchre in the City of London. He died at 
an early age and was buried at Chidingstone on 4th October, 1706. A stone near the altar 
rails marks the spot ; it is inscribed : — 

' ' Here lyeth the body of 

Thomas Woodgate, late 

Citizen and Ironmonger of 

London, son of William 

Woodgate of this Parish, Gent., 

who departed this Life 
ye 30th of September, 1706 in ye 
34th of his Age 
He married Susanna 
the daughter of Thomas 
Seyhard of Penshurst, 
Esqr., by whom he had 
2 sons and 4 daughters." 
The inscription is wrong; he left one son and two daughters (probably the stonemason's error). 
Administration of his estate was granted 16th November, 1706, to Susaimah, his rehct. One 
of his daughters married Wilham Davies, Citizen and Grocer of London ; the other married 
Phihp Hinds and had issue, Wilham Hinds. 


his great uncle Richard Streatleild, of Chested (see p. 29). During his parents Hfe- 
time he hved with them at Stonewall ; we know, from a will, that his room there 
was known as " the milk house chamber." At their death he removed to Chested, 
where he died in 1724, unmarried, and was buried at Chidingstone on 29th March {k). 
The sixth surviving son was Stephen Woodgate, of Sevenoaks Weald. He, too, 
was a bachelor ; his niece Sarah Woodgate (daughter of Henry) and nephew Robert 
Durrant lived with him. He died in 1754, and his nephew Francis Woodgate by will 
directed that a monument should be raised to his memory, which does not seem to 
have been done (1). 

William Woodgate, the son, lived with his uncle John Seyhard at Pendhill. He died 
unmarried in 1735, and by his will (dated 20th March, 1734, proved 2nd July, 1735) left £105 for 
mourning and rings equally to be divided between his uncle John Seyliard and his cousins John, 
Thomas, Elizabeth, and Annebella Seyhard, and Margaret Pellat. 10 guineas for mourning 
and a ring to dear uncle Stephen Woodgate of Sevenoaks Weald, and cousin Sarah Woodgate, hving 
with Stephen ; and the same to his sisters Susannah Hinds and Mary Davies, and their husbands ; 
and £30 to John Seyhard's servants to buy them mourning. Nephew Wilham Hinds 
£300 at 21. Servant James Stone all wearing apparel; dear cousin Ehzabeth Seyliard, "wall- 
nutt tree beaurow " ; cousin Annabella, £40; cousin Margaret Pellat £20 ; Wm. Dunkley £10 for 
mourning and a ring, also 2 guineas to buy a pair of pistols. Two sisters, £50 each. Miss Mar- 
garet Mille and Mr. John Butler, £1 each for a ring. Silver watch and bay horse to Richard 
Simons of Blechingley. ' ' According to a mutual agreement between my dear friend John Seyliard 
junr. and myself that the longest liver should have a memorial of the other's respect and 
affection, I give and bequeath to the said John Seyhard, junr., six guineas to buy him a gunn 
and my best saddle and bridle." He, and Stephen Woodgate, executors ; residue for William 
Hinds, nephew, at 21 years of age. To be buried in Blechingley churchyard. Farm and lands 
called Frendon in Chidingstone in occupation of John Head to be sold by executors. 

(k) The will of Richard Woodgate was dated 23rd March, 1723 and proved 16th April, 1724, in 

the Shoreham PecuUars. Being then ' ' sick and weak in body ' ' he gave to liis sister Sarah Durrant 
and Wihiam her husband, and their children WiUiam and Sarah £5 each ; two sons of brother 
Henry, £4 each ; three daughters of brother Henry, £5 each ; brother Thomas' son £4, and his 
two daughters, £5 each ; the residue to brother Stephen, the sole executor. To Stephen he also 
left the house and lands called Chested and Seed Cubbs in Chidingstone, Caseinghurst Mead, 
in Penhurst, Guildridge and house and lands called Buckhurst in Heaver and Chidingstone, all 
in his own occupation ; also a house and lands in Penshurst, a house in the ' ' town " of 
Chidingstone occupied by Wilham Pope and Thomas Eagleton, and all other lands in Chid- 
ingstone and Penshurst ; to Richard Durrant, nephew, two houses at Lankerton Green. 

(1) Stephen Woodgate's will, dated 25th November, 1753, provided as follows. Being then "in 

tolerable good health " he gave to the poor of Chidingstone £10, and of Penshurst £5 ; £100 
each to James, Sarah, and Mary Fremhng, children of niece Ann Fremhng widow and Mr. 
James Fremhng deceased, charged on Frenden and Tophill. Niece Mary, wife of William 
Davies of London, daughter of brother Thomas, hfe annuity of £12 out of-Frenden, and the same 
annuity to her sister Susanna Hinds. £20 each to Henry, John, and Sarah Woodgate, AUce 
Children, Rose wife of Mr. George Swayne, Elizabeth and Ann, children of late brother John 
Woodgate of Summer Hill, charged on Chested. To nephew the Rev. Francis Woodgate of 
Munfield, Frenden in Chidingstone containing 100 acres occupied by John Head ; 17 acres in 
Chidingstone called Silcocks Meads, and aU other lands in occupation of Robert Head ; Tophill in 
Chidingstone containing 60 acres, in occupation of Thomas Butcher ; meadow land in Chidingstone 
near Chafford Bridge called Elepans ; aU other lands in occupation of Butcher ; Chested and 
Seedrops, occupied by Samuel Waite ; house and 10a. in Chidingstone occupied by Thomas 
Walhs ; cottage and garden in Chidingstone occupied by Robert HoUamby ; and all other lands 
occupied by WaUis or HoUamby ; also Gildredge in Chidingstone containing 80 acres, occupied 
by himself, subject to 10 years enjoyment thereof by nephew Robert Durrant from 29th Septem- 
ber next after Stephen's death ; and aU the residue of his real estate. He gave to niece Sarah, 
daughter of brother Henry, New Tye in Chidingstone and Heaver containing 100 acres, occupied 
by John Fuller ; Low Buckhurst containing 50 acres in Heaver and Chidingstone ; and 12 
acres called Nespridges adjoining, all occupied by James Knight ; property at Cocum Hill and 
elsewhere in Westerham occupied by Thomas HoUamby, subject to legacies of £100 to Anne 
Woodgate, daughter of late nephew Henry Woodgate of London, Stationer, £200 to Henry, son 
of late nephew WiUiam Woodgate of Tonbridge deceased ; and £200 to Joseph, son of Henry 
Woodgate of London, Stationer, deceased ; niece Lydia Woodgate, £300. The capital messuage 
and lands in Sevenoaks where he then dwelt and the several houses and lands thereto belonging ; 
the house and 10a. at HaU's Green, Sevenoaks, in his own occupation ; and cottage and garden 
at BowzeU Gate, Chevening, to nephew Robert Durrant, subject to legacy of £200 to niece Ann 
Fremhng, widow. Residue of personalty to Robert Durrant and niece Sarah, daughter of 
Henry Woodgate equaUy, they the sole executors. The will (drawn by Francis Austen on 
nine sheets) was proved at London, 2nd August, 1754, by both executors. 


11939D2 35 

In 1699 on 20th November, William Woodgate of Stonewall became High 
Sheriff of Kent. There is an odd tradition that he went down in his official capacity 
to meet William of Orange on his landing. As the landing was in 1688 and at Torbay, 
not in Kent at all, it is diihcult to see how this could have been the case ; unless 
indeed he went to Torbay as an ordinary magistrate ; he was not High Sheriff for 
another eleven years. Again, the landing may have been on the King's return from 
one of his foreign expeditions, in 1699, when Dover would probably be the place of 
landing. In this way the tradition may be accounted for. 

William Woodgate died in 1717, and was buried, according to the directions 
contained in his wiU, " in linen." In 1678 an Act was passed with a view to the 
encouragement of the woollen industry of the country, prohibiting burials in any- 
thing other than woollen, except on payment of a fine of £5. This fine had therefore 
to be paid on William's burial, which took place on the 23rd May, as also on his 
widow's, which took place the following year. The bulk of William Woodgate's 
land had been settled on the marriage of himself and his children, as he states in the 

The will was dated 24th January, 1714, and directs that he should be buried 
in the Parish church. He gives 50/- to the poor of Chidingstone. To his dear and 
loving wife Alice, ;^200, best milk cow, table and chairs in the parlour at Stonewall, 
the bedstead in the parlour chamber, all the flax and hemp, six silver spoons, a 
silver cup, six bushels of wheat, and such other linen and goods as she may select. 
To son John, three silver salts. Son Richard, bedstead ' ' in the milk house chamber 
where helyeth," silver two-handled cup marked W.W.A., a chest of linen made and 
put up for him by his mother, and six pewter dishes. Son Stephen, the best horse 
or mare, a similar chest of linen, a silver tankard, his silver-hilted sword and best 
set of sUver buttons. Daughter Sarah Durrant, £20, three pairs of flax, hemp and 
tow sheets, 18 flaxen napkins, table cloth, six old-fashioned silver spoons one where- 
of was marked in the bowl. To her son Wilham Durrant, ^5 at 21. Grandson 
William Woodgate, son of Thomas deceased, £5. Grandson William Woodgate, son 
of John, a silver cup. Sarah, Ann and Lydia Woodgate, daughters of son Henry 
deceased, one " chest of linen which was brought from Goudhurst," the chest to 
their brother WiUiam. Lydia Woodgate, grand-daughter, £50 at 21. 

Grandson William Woodgate, son of John, house and lands at Chidingstone 
called Hilders, purchased of Wilham Kent. House opposite the church occupied by 
Fortunatus Terry to wife Alice for life then to son Richard, subject to £40 to 
godson William Woodgate, son of son Henry, at the end of his apprenticeship if he 
be put out an apprentice, otherwise at 21. [N.B. — This house is one of those which 
form the "High Street " and are justly celebrated for their beauty]. Son Richard, 
all the goods that were in the house at Chested, and were left by his uncle, Richard 
Streatfeild. To son Stephen, the capital messuage called Lawrence with the 
premises belonging and 73 acres in Sevenoaks, in occupation of Stephen ; also iia. 
of coppice adjoining, being part of lands called Rotherden, next Hale Oak 
Green ; also house and lands called Crowhurst, containing 93 acres, including Crow- 
hurst Mead and Lonedownes, in Sevenoaks and Chevening, in his own occupation. 
Sons John and Stephen, executors ; proved by them 19th January, 1718. 

His widow did not long survive him ; she was buried in 1718, on 23rd January, 
" in linen," in the parish church. By her will, dated i8th November, 1717, 
being then " sick in body," she gives ^^20 each to son John and Rose his wife, and 
20/- each to their children William, Sarah, and Alice, and to Rose a bedpan ; to 
Wniiam, also, a fire-pan and tongs, andirons, flock bed in the maids' chamber at 
Stonewall, and to Alice a chest there ; son Richard, ;^20 ; daughter Sarah Durrant, 
£20, a chest and its contents, all her gold rings, wearing apparel, a chest of drawers 
in the closet next the parlour chamber, a trunk in the closet next the hall chamber, 
and certain goods in the hall chamber ; to William Durrant (Sarah's husband), 
20/-, and to their children William and Sarah 20/- each. John, Sarah, Ann, and Lydia 


(children of son Henry deceased), 20/- each ; son Stephen, pewter and plates, brewing 
vessels, aU the furniture in the parlour and parlour chamber, pair of curtains and 
counterpanes in the hall chamber, a cow, fat hog, and other goods. Residue to 
Stephen, the sole executor. Proved by Stephen 19th January, 1718, in the Shoreham 

From this time SummerhiU became, in fact, the chief family seat ; though as 
will be seen Stonewall was for some years deemed of equal consequence. 




John Woodgate, the eldest son of WilHam Woodgate of Stonewall the High 
Sheriff, married the " fair Rose of Kent," the beautiful and wealthy heiress of a 
neighbouring squire. This was in 1693, some twenty- four years before his father's 

The Birstys, otherwise Birchenstys or Bursters, were lords of the manor of 
Birchensty, in Ardingley, Sussex, from a time of remote antiquity. Thomas, fourth 
in descent from John Birchensty of Birchensty, was the first to use the surname 
in the contracted form, and was likewise the first to remove from the family home. He 
married one of the Cotty's of Edenbridge. (N.B. — Seyliard, Cotty, and Holmden were 
perhaps the chief famihes of Edenbridge at that time). He was a man of law, and 
" Serjeant" to the hapless Queen Anne of Cleves, who was banished to Hever 
Castle when the King married Anne Boleyn of Hever. His eldest son John (godson 
of Francis Seyhard) had the family lands in Sussex ; William had lands in Hever, 
Chidingstone, Penshurst, and elsewhere ; and Thomas the second son had How- 
green and the Hever property (a) 

Thomas, married Dorothy, sister of Sir Thomas Polhill of Wrotham. Thomas 
Polhill, we think a grandson of Sir Thomas Polhill, married EHzabeth Ireton, grand- 
daughter of Oliver Cromwell the Protector ; and of his two sons, David was Member 
for Rochester and Keeper of the Records in the Tower ; and Charles, Commissioner 
of Excise, married Martha Streatfeild of Chidingstone, John Woodgate's aunt. 

It was their great-grand-daughter Rose Birsty who married John Woodgate. 
Besides a considerable dowry and (traditionally) a passionate devotion to music, 
she brought into the family the names Francis and Rose, which have since been 

(o) How Green, otherwise Hook Green, was held of the Manor of Chidingstone Burghersh and 

belonged originally to John Hynes, afterwards to John Seyliard, then to Thomas Seyhard, and 
finally to Ewry Seyhard, who sold it to Thomas Birsty, who, as already mentioned, left it to 
his second son Thomas. At the latter's death it descended to the two sons, Francis and Thomas. 
Francis in 1625 sold his share to Thomas Pratt of London, of whom it was purchased by 
Thomas two years later. Thomas, churchwarden of Hever in 1642 and 1654, was succeeded 
by his son Francis, churchwarden in 1667 and 1680. 

WiUiam Birsty of Chidingstone, third son of Thomas the " Serjeant," was one of the 
principal inhabitants. He was buried in the nave at Chidingstone, where there is a brass to his 
memory, inscribed : — 

" Guhelmus fihus Tho de Birchensty 
Com. Sussex ex Anna una cohaeredum 
Johannis Fremling duas relinquens filias, 
Annam et Catharinam obiit XX°., die mensis, 
Maij Ao Dni MDCXXXVIj, 
Aetatis LXVIIj." 
Above are the Birsty arms, incorrectly differenced by a crescent ihstead of a star, impaling 
Fremling, namely " Gules, a chevron between three helmets argent plumed and vizored or." 
Administration of his estate was granted 15th June, 1637 to Anna Birsty, rehct, out of Shore- 
ham Pecuhars. The other Fremling co-heiress, Catherine, married Silvester Page. 

Mary Birsty, Rose Birsty's aunt, married John Woodgate of Hever, and had among other 
issue Sarah Woodgate afterwards the wife of John Streatfeild of Penshurst, uncle of John Wood- 
gate of SummerhilL 

Two Birstys are mentioned subsequently. In 1710, at Edenbridge, Ehzabeth Birsty married 
Edward Holmden, and in 1763, Mary Birsty of Westerham married WiUiam Tempest Beckett 
of the same place. Beckett was the son of James Beckett of Cranbrook, Surgeon, and Mary 
his wife the daughter of WiUiam Tempest of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-law. 


used in nearly every generation. The Woodgates descended from her quarter, with 
their own paternal coat and that of Combridge, the arms of Birsty, ' ' Gules, a fess 
embattled ermine between three dexter gauntlets or, and a crescent for difference." 
The settlement made on the marriage included Stonewall, but subject to William 
Woodgate's life interest. John Woodgate therefore started his married life at Chested, 
which had been left by his great uncle Richard Streatfeild. All the children down 
to Anne (May, 171 1) were baptised at Penshurst ; John the next child was baptised at 
Chidingstone 20th December, 1712, his father being described as " John Woodgate 
of Chested, Penshurst, Gent. " ; the next child Stephen was baptised in May, 1716, 
at Tonbridge, for in 1712 John Woodgate purchased Summerhill in Tonbridge, 
and soon afterwards removed there {b). 

The history of Summerhill and its owners would require a chapter to itself, 
and may at any time be found in Hasted and other books. It is therefore only 
necessary briefly to recapitulate the main points prior to the Woodgate purchase. 
The property belonged to the family of Clare, Earls of Gloucester and Hertford, 
untn the death of Gilbert de Clare in 1314, when it passed to his sister Ehzabeth, 
wife of John de Burgh. His grand-daughter married Lionel, Duke of Clarence, 
whose daughter and heiress married Edward Mortimer, Earl of March, on whose death 
this estate became the property of her nephew Richard, Duke of York, who aspired 
to the Crown. It remained in this family till it was granted to John Dudley, Earl 
of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland, after whom it belonged successively 
to Cardinal Pole, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and then to Frances, daughter 
of the great Sir Francis Walsingham and widow both of Sir Phihp Sidney and the 
Earl of Essex. She remarried the Earl of Clanrickard, who at great expense built 
the present house ; and was so pleased with the situation that he called it Summer Hill. 
The house was not completed till the reign of James I. He was created Baron 
SomerhiU and Viscount Tonbridge, titles still existent ; he spent most of his life there, 
and was buried at Tonbridge in 1636, leaving a son Ulick, created Marquis in 1645, 
because of his devotion to the Royalist cause, which, however, was a sufficient reason 
for the sequestration of his estates by the Parliament. Parliament granted Summerhill 
to the Earl of Essex, in lieu of a grant of £10,000 a year which could not be 
paid ; on his death, to John Bradshaw the regicide. On the restoration Summerhill 
reverted to the lawful owner, Margaret, only daughter and heiress of Ulick, Marquis 
of Clanrickard. 

Margaret married Charles M'Carty, Viscount Muskerry, who was killed by the 
Dutch at Solebay in 1665. She then married a Villiers, but here Hasted and most 
of the writers seem to be wrong, and the facts are therefore set out in detail. 

John Villiers, Viscount Purbeck, brother of the celebrated George, Duke of 
Buckingham, married twice. His first wife was Frances, youngest daughter of Sir 
Edward Coke. Weldon, who never spares ' ' the beggarly kindred of Buckingham," 
says that John Villiers, husband of my lord Coke's daughter, was the best of the lot. . 
. . . and his wife a wicked woman. He died without issue, but his wife bore a son 
Robert, who generally went by the name of Wright, who on his marriage with the 
daughter and heir of Sir John Manvers the regicide obtained a patent from Cromwell 
to assume that name. Dugdale says that he alleged as a reason ' ' the many disservices 
done to the commonwealth by the name and family of Villiers." Wright, other- 
wise Manvers, was apparently destitute of all principle, and was expelled from the 
House of Commons in 1658, in which he sat as Member for Westbury, upon a charge 
of delinquency, though evidence was given of his zeal for the Parhamentary cause 
as soon as he was out of reach of his mother's influence, and also that he had been 

(6) Hasted and the writers following (and imitating) him describe John Woodgate as of Ghepsted, 

Penshurst. This has puzzled many, no such place having ever existed, but the explanation is 
simple. It was merely a printer's error, Hasted having used an old-fashioned S resembUng a P, as 
reference to his manuscript shows. 


heard to say " that rather than execution should not be done on the King, he would do 
it himself." By the minister of Wycombe he was charged with never going to church. 

As he had never been declared illegitimate, his son Robert resumed the surname 
of Villiers and claimed the Viscounty of Purbeck and Earldom of Buckingham, 
but the claim was disallowed. Robert Villiers married Margaret, Lady Muskerry, 
as above, in whose right he became possessed of Summer hill ; but having 
wasted his fortune and involved himself in debt, he went abroad as his father did to 
avoid his creditors, and at Liege was killed in a duel by Col. Lutterell in 1686 in the 
twenty-ninth year of his age. He had issue by Margaret his wife one son only, 
John Vilhers. His widow then married Robert, otherwise "Beau" Fielding 
and by her expensive way of living wasted her estates and sold them piecemeal 
to different people. She died in great distress in August, 1698. 

Her son John Villiers, who assumed the Earldom and subscribed himself Bucking- 
ham, was educated at Eton and lost no time in following the worst example of his 
ancestors. He cohabited with Frances widow of a Mr. Heneage of Lincolnshire, a person 
of dissolute character but of a large jointure, for the sake of which he eventually married 
her to procure a subsistence, having already wasted his own fortune. He died in 1723 
at Darner's Hill, near Barnet, leaving two daughters who were in every way worthy of 
their father and mother. His uncle Edward Villiers, bom in 1661, entered the Army 
and was somewhat more reputable than the rest of the family ; he and his son 
George renewed the claim to the Earldom until the extinction of the line in 1774. 

John Villiers succeeded to the house and park of Summerhill, the Manor of South 
Frith, and certain demesne lands left unsold by his mother. The house, manor 
and park and certain lands he sold to Thomas Deakins, and the residue, consisting of 
about 1,200 acres, he sold to Abraham Hill, of whom later. Dekins died without 
issue and devised Summerhill to one Cave, who sold it about 17 12 to John Woodgate. 

Summerhill must have been in a wretched state of repair ; indeed, Camden 
describes it about this time as "a vast pile falling fast to ruin in a delightful situation," 
but there is ample reason to suppose that John carefully overhauled the 
place and did everything that was necessary. He had thirteen children, of whom 
ten survived. In spite of big house and large family, he managed to make some 
further judicious additions to his property, notably the Manor of the Moat, Cowden, 
which he bought of the heirs of Thomas Gainsford about 1720. 

In 1726 we come to the first of the long series of letters. It was written by John 
to his fifth son Francis Woodgate at Trinity College, Oxford. It seems that John 
had himself taken his son to be entered at Oxford, and had only lately returned. 
Son ffrancis, ' ' December 24th, 1726. 

Yours I Received 17 Instant, but not knowing how to rite sooner, . , I am glad 
to hear your Cold Is over ; I carryed home A very tedious cold with mee from Oxford 
and have had the Apothecary's Assistance before I could get It of. Give my service 
to Mr. Shephard and thank him for all favours At Oxford. I went home by Reading 
and Mr. Zinzin was very Civil to use [us] and treated use very handsomely, Hee 
hath A son At Morling Colledg and says hee will see you when hee comes to Oxford. 
If hee Invites you over you may goe with his son when you bee At Liberty, for you 
have noe friends near there. It Is the Largest countrey town I have seen. I heare 
there hath been Abondance of snow In the West ; wee had but Little, and beyond 
Crow borrow In Sussex none at all. I have ordered thirteen pounds for you with 
Cosen Henry Woodgate at the three bibles one [on] London bridg ; send as soon as 
you pleas and will order twelve pounds more next quarter and make It f&fty pounds 
the year. If that will not bee enough, when you over you shall have more ; but you 
must bee as prudent as you can for there Is a great many of you to provide for. 
Your mother brothers and sisters Love to you, and I two, and remain, your Loving 

ffather John Woodgate, 
from Summerhill, 

Tunbridg, Kent, 


Wee are all well, God bee thanked, at present and all freinds, and wish you a 
merry Crismas. Son William Remembers his love to you and wonders you not rite 
to him ; hee hath sent you a Letter but hath had noe anser." 

Mr. Zinzan, who seems to have been living at Reading, was probably a son of 
Henry Zinzan who married Jacoba, one of the three daughters and co-heiresses of 
Sir Peter Vanlore, in whose right he became the owner of Tonbridge Castle. The 
other co-heiresses married respectively Sir Robert Cook and the Earl of Stirling. 
One of Mr. Zinzan's sons sold the castle to the Hookers in 1739. 

John Woodgate died the following year, and was buried ' ' in woollen " the 21st 
August at Chidingstone, where a marble tablet on the north wall perpetuates his 

' ' Sacred to the memory 

of John Woodgate, Esqre. of Summer HOI, 

and Rose his wife 

whose ashes are deposited 

near this place. He died 

August 17th, 1728, aged 68 ; 

She Sept. 22 ; 1744, aged 71. 

John Woodgate, Esqre., 
was the eldest son of William 
Woodgate of Stonewall Park, 
the High Sheriff for the County 
in the year 1700, 
And of AUce his wife. 
The filial piety of Francis 
Woodgate, M.A., late Rector 
of Watlington and Vicar of 
Mountfield, Sussex 
directed by will this monument 
to be erected as his last token 
of sincere respect for his honoured parents " 
The monument shows marks of the arms having been affixed ; but the shield has been 
torn off bodily. 

By his will dated 28th March, 1727, he gives to eldest daughter Sarah Woodgate, 
farm and lands called Clay hill in Goudhurst, occupied by Frances Hammon, and 
^^700 ; to second daughter, Ahce Woodgate, £1,000 lent to Thomas May of Hadlow, 
Gent., on mortgage, also ;^ioo one year after marriage ; to daughter Rose Woodgate, 
farm and land containing 50a. at Edenbridge, called Mousers, occupied by Thomas 
Sales, and ;£400 ; to daughters Elizabeth and Anne £100 apiece at 21, also the ' ' Old 
Lodge " and " Heath Farm " at Lingfield, occupied by Robert Martin ; to dearly 
loved wife Rose Woodgate, ;^35 a year out of Howgreen, one quarter of the silver 
plate, half the pewter, and the use during hfe or widowhood of ' ' the parlour, the 
pantry, the lodging wherein I now lie and the nursery room, with the cellar now used 
as a milk house, with the use of the kitchen, brewhouse and oven all being in my now 
capital or mansion house called Summer Hill wherein I now dwell ", and the furniture 
of such rooms ; also the use and possession of the garden, liberty to take water, and 
a way through the great hall to the said garden and all ways and passages to and from 
the said premises at her pleasure ; to eldest son William, all lands in Chidingstone 
and Penshurst, an estate in Hartfield and Cowden called Sussex House, also the farm 
and lands called Dryhill (c) in Sundridge and Chevening occupied by William Hawes, 
with the manor of Dryhill ; to son Henry, Summerhill, Cusson's farm, Summerhtll 

(c) This farm comprises Brooke's Place and 74a. of arable land, 8a. of meadow, 10a. of pasture, 

and 20a. of wood ; also a messuage called Blowters Tenement with 6a. of arable, 2a. of 
meadow, and 22a. of wood, a messuage called Ufimondes, and other lands. 


farm, Summerhill park, the two meadows (then divided into several parcels) called 
the Priory Meads near Tonbridge Town, and the Manor of Summerhill and other 
manors, two houses in Tonbridge (occupied by Richard Ashdowne and Rose Johnson), 
the manor house and 36a. in Tonbridge, a field in Capell and the residue of household 
goods ; to son Francis, Howgreen and all other lands in Hever and Brasted, occupied 
by John Shelly, subject to £35 annuity to his mother ; to son John, the Moat farm 
and the Manor of Cosswyns, Gunn House and lands in Withyam, lands in Hartfield, 
and house and lands at Forest Rowe in East Grinsted, subject to paying £25 a year 
to Francis ; poor of Tonbridge ^10 ; sister Sarah Durrant £5 ; to all servants at time of 
decease, 10/- each ; residue of plate to sons and daughters equally ; loving brother 
Stephen Woodgate £s, he to be trustee. Witnessed by WilHam Woodgate (probably 
the nephew). Proved at London, 1st December, 1727, by William Woodgate, the 
eldest son and executor. 

Stonewall, the ancient family seat, thus fell to William the eldest son ; Henry 
the second son had to be content with Summerhill. William and John, the eldest and 
youngest sons, took up their abode at Stonewall, and at various times acted as church- 
wardens and overseers. William died intestate and unmarried in 1743, and 
administration was granted to Henry Woodgate, brother, on 13th September. John 
Continued to live at Stonewall ; he signs the Chidingstone registers in a firm, clear, 
well-educated hand, and was there certainly as late as 1766 (when churchwarden) and 
1769 (overseer), and died in 1770 intestate and unmarried. He was buried at Ton- 
bridge, and administration was granted on 9th April, 1770, to his nephew William, 
Henry, Francis, Anne, and Rose Swayne the next-of-kin having first renounced. 
In this grant he is described as being late of Tonbridge deceased. On his death there 
was a deed of partition between Henry and Francis, by which the latter obtained 
(amongst other things) the Moat. 

Ahce Woodgate the second daughter married Arthur Children of Riverhill, 
Sevenoaks {d), and had issue an only son who died in infancy. Arthur Children 
predeceased his wife. 

(d) Children is a name typically Kentish. The family were settled at Hildenborough as early as 

the reign of Richard II, when Simon Children appears as one of the principal inhabitants. They 
wrote themselves a ChUdern or a Children. They owned for hundreds of years an estate called 
Childrens in Hildenborough and were lords of the manor of Philipotts, near Leigh and Tonbridge. 
In later times the principal branch, that of Children of Ramhurst, built Ferox Hall, Tonbridge, 
and there resided. It is not at present known how the Riverhill branch was connected with this 
family. Their descent is behaved to be as follows. Arthur Children of Tonbridge, will proved 
1644, married Joan and had issue, 

(a) Arthur. (d) Hellen. (/) Joan. 

(b) James. (e) Mildred (</) Jane. 

(c) Mary. 

Arthur of Tonbridge, eldest son, married at Tonbridge in 1655 Mary Markwicke and had issue, 

George of Nizels Hoath, Tonbridge, who married Ehzabeth daughter of Walter Burt, he 
died 19th April, 1722, leaving 

(a) Markwicke. 

(b) George died young. 

(c) John of Nizels ; had issue Richard, George, and Mary, who married Neddal of 

Sevenoaks, Apothecary. 

(d) George. " (h) Margaret. 

(e) Arthur of Riverhill, m. Ahce Woodgate (j) Sarah. 
(/) Mary. {k) Aime. 
(g) Ehzabeth 

The arms are " or, a saltire engrailed gules." 

Ehzabeth wife of Arthur Children of Riverhill was buried "in hnen " 7th December, 
1719, at Tonbridge ; Ahce Woodgate must therefore have been the second wife. 

According to ' ' Cid's " Guide to Sevenoaks, 1864, Riverhill was built about 1740 " on the 
site of an old farm house by Mr. Woodgate, who was then a Banker in Tonbridge and was 
occupied by his family for many years." Though we do not know the history of the place, 
this in any event is untrue ; the Childrens were there in 1719, and owned it until 1768, when 
Ahce Children left if by will to her brother Francis Woodgate of Mountfield, Clerk in Holy 
Orders (not of Tonbridge, Banker) ; and the Woodgates did not occupy it till 1780. 


Rose Woodgate the third daughter, married George Swayne of Fish Hall, 
Hadlow (e) ; she likewise died a widow, without issue. 

Rose Woodgate, the widow, lived at Summerhill till her death in 1744, together 
with Henry and the unmarried daughters. 

In 1727, the year of his death, John Woodgate was created a Commissioner 
of land taxes in the Act of that year, by which the tax, which had been at two shillings, 
was raised to four. Stephen Woodgate was another Commissioner. In 1733 when 
the tax was reduced to a shilling in the pound to conciliate the landed interest, 
Henry Woodgate, as well as Stephen, was appointed a Commissioner under the Act. 

In 1740 the Act 13 George II was obtained, being an Act to revive, explain, 
and amend the Act 16 & 17 Charles II, viz. : an Act for making the River 
Medway navigable in the counties of Kent and Sussex. The promoters included 
Henry Woodgate of Summerhill, Wilham Woodgate of Stonewall, the Duke of 
Dorset, John Wood, John Hooker, Robert Streatfeild, and forty others. The 
" Company of Proprietors of the Navigation of the River Medway " was formed, 
with a common seal, and commissioners appointed for determining the proper 
satisfaction to be given for damage sustained by owners or occupiers of lands. The 
Commissioners were seventy-one in number, including Stephen Woodgate, John 
Children of Ferox HaU, Lord Amherst, David PapiUon, Lord John Sackville, Lord 
Vane, Henry Streatfeild jun., of Chidingstone, Robert Streatfeild of Cowden, Thomas 
Streatfeild of Sevenoaks, and others. Henry Woodgate owned some valuable shares 
in this company. 

By this will, dated 29th November, 1768, AUce Children of Tonbridge, widow, gave to her 
brother John Woodgate of Stonewall £200 ; to her ten nephews and nieces, children of brother 
Francis £100 each ; two maidservants, £5 each ; niece Rose Woodgate, gold watch ; niece 
Sarah Woodgate, diamond ring ; £10 for twenty poor people of Tonbridge, and further £10 
for other poor of Tonbridge ; to godson Richard, eldest son of John Children of Nizel's Hoath, 
Tonbridge, a house and land at Fawk Common, Seal, occupied by the widow Cripps, subject 
to £100 to be paid to his sister Mary wife of Neddal of Sevenoaks and £100 to be paid to his 
brother John. To dear brother Henry Woodgate lands at Haysden, Tonbridge, occupied by 
John Relph, aLso house at Haysden occupied by Thomas Webb ; to dear brother Francis, house, 
lands, and woodlands called River Hill in Sevenoaks occupied by Francis Otway, Esq., also 
Skin Hill, Sevenoaks, occupied by the Duke of Dorset ; to dear sisters Rose Swayne and Anne 
Woodgate, Hale Oak, in Chidingstone and Sevenoaks, occupied by Richard Saunders, also lands 
at Meopham Bank, occupied by James Holmes, also farm at Hollanden, Leigh, occupied by Robert 
Skinner, also lands in Seal, Tonbridge, and the house in Tonbridge, occupied by herself. 
Residue to Rose Swayne and Anne AVoodgate, executors. Witnessed by Thomas IMiller and 
Thomas Miller, jun., and Thomas Swayne. 

Thomas Miller was the doctor and (we beheve) Swayne the solicitor, 
(e) George Swayne had married, firstly, Ehzabeth daughter and co-heir of John France, through 

whom the Swaynes acquired Fish Hall. He had two sons, John bapt. 22nd August, 1732, at 
Hadlow, and Thomas born 1734. Thomas Swayne probably the solicitor above mentioned, had 
two daughters ; Mary the elder married in 1795 the Rev. John Delves, Vicar of Ashburnham, and 
Ann who married in March, 1791, John Fellowes Claridge, of the firm of Austen and Claridge, of 
Sevenoaks, Sohcitors. Mr. Claridge was Clerk of the Peace for the County of Kent, and held 
a Commission in the Sevenoaks Troop of W^est Kent Yeomanry, which he resigned in 1813. His 
daughter Ann married in 1813 Charles Ducie of Bilhter Square. 

The Swayne arms are ' 'Azure, a chevron between three pheons or, within a bordure ermine " ; 
they are displayed on the south wall of Hadlow Church. Underneath is the inscription : — 
' ' To the memory of Thomas Swayne formerly of Fish Hall in this parish 
and late of Tonbridge who departed this Hfe December, XXV, MDCCC 
in the LXVI year of his age. And of Anne Swayne his wife who died on the 
XXI day of January, MDCCCVIII, aged LXXII years. 

Also to the memory of 
John Fellowes Claridge of Sevenoaks in this County Who died the VII May, 
MDCCCXXII. aged LVIII years, and of Anne the wife of the said John 
Fellowes Claridge, and daughter of Thomas and Ann Swayne. 
She died March III, MDCCC VI, aged XLI years." 
The other France co-heiress married in 1722 Walter Barton of Court Lodge, Hadlow ; the 
manor of Hadlow was settled on her, and descended to her son John and grandson Walter, 
who changed his name to May. Fish Hall is an ancient Tudor building with fine sloping roof ; 
what remains of it is now used as a farm house. The present hall was probably erected at the 
end of the eighteenth century. It is so named from having belonged to the Fishers of Hadlow, 


Again, under the Act of 8 Anne, for making a road to Woodsgate and Tunbridge 
Wells, tolls were granted for a term of fifteen years. The roads became so bad 
that they could not be kept in repair by ordinary measures, and the Act of ii 
George I was passed appointing special Commissioners (Henry Woodgate one), 
and granting the tolls for a further period of twenty-one years. 

After his mother's death Henry Woodgate still lived at Summerhill with his 
three sisters, Sarah, Ann, and Elizabeth, and it seems that they were joined by 
their nephew William, eldest son of the Rev. Francis Woodgate of Mountfield^'' 
Sarah died in 1761 and Elizabeth in 1766. The latter's will, describing her as of 
Summerhill, and dated 5th October, 1766, states that she is ' ' sick and weak in body" ; 
she gives to her dear brothers and sisters Henry, Francis, John, Alice Children, 
Rose Swayne, and Anne Woodgate ;f 100 each. To Ann for hfe her moiety in messuage 
and lands at Lingfield, containing 200a., occupied by Benjamin Harden, and then 
to her nephew William Woodgate absolutely. To sister Rose Swayne, moiety of 
house in Tonbridge occupied by Richard Miller, and then to sister Ann absolutely. 
Residue to Ann, sole executrix, who proved the will 14th May, 1767. (Witnessed 
by Thomas Swayne). 

About two years later on William's marriage, Henry and Ann left Summerhill 
and occupied one of the houses belonging to Henry in Tonbridge Town. There is 
a tradition that the Woodgates at one time occupied old Judd House, now used as 
the School Sanatorium. 

In 1767 Henry found himself engaged in a chancery suit, Woodgate v. Head. 
He had contracted to purchase of John Whittaker of Wrotham, Gent., Trustee for 
sale of William Head and Henry Head of Faversham, Gent., (sons of Rev. John 
Head of Selling, deceased, and Mary his wife) a messuage and buildings and 104a. 
in Tonbridge known as Romneys, Selby's Barn, and the Clays ; also a house 
and 5a. csQled the Gatefield otherwise Walkfield, Hillyfield 5a. ; Oldhard Field 6a., 
Broomfield 4a., Great Mead 6a., Strake Slift la. Clapper Mead la., two Cookes 
Meads 14a ; also the Flying Horse, formerly known as the Half Moon, and 47a., 
all in Tunbridge and Hildenborough. It had been put up to auction and withdrawn ; 
but after the sale Woodgate offered :^i,45o which was accepted, but the lands were 
subject to a perpetual annuity of £60 to James Head, and of £3 2 o to the church- 
wardens of Tonbridge. Difficulties arose with the Trustee for sale, but apparently 
Woodgate got his decree for specific performance from Sir Thomas Clarke, Master 
of the Rolls. Mr. Swayne was Woodgate's Attorney. 

On 9th April, 1772, Henry Woodgate purchased certain lands of Matthew Smith 
of Lee, Kent, Esq., for ;^i,65o. The purchase consisted of a capital messuage known 
as Hollywish otherwise Holwich and the buildings, orchard and garden containing 
some 4a. and various lands containing in the aggregate some i8oa. in Hartfield and 
Cowden (/) abutting on lands of Butcher West and South, on lands of the Duke of 

(/) The lands in detail were 


B. P. 


R. P. 



1 39 

Six Acres 


1 21 

Woodgate's Mead . . 


3 33 

Hovelfield . . 



Lower Mead 


2 32 

Housefield . . 


1 12 

Horse Piatt Mead . . 



Watts Piatt . . 

2 4 

Thorny Bank 


2 17 

Pond Bayfield 


2 1 

Little piece adjoining 


3 11 

RidgeField .. 



Little Combfield . . 


2 30 

Homefield . . 


1 16 

Further Combfield .. 


3 34 

Hopyard Field 


2 8 

Comb Woodfield . . 


1 5 

Nine Acres . . 


3 9 

Little Meadow, adjoining the 

Longlead Wish 


3 19 

Bridleway leading 


WeU Field .. 


2 5 

Cowden to Blackham Com- 

Acre Piatt . . 





1 11 

Grey Clay . . 


2 2 

Greenfield . . 


2 22 

Greatlead Wish 


3 11 

Little Clay . . 



Square Field.. 


3 33 

The Wood .. 




1 39 


3 24 

* See Reference Sheet. 


Dorset, Piggott and Everest respectively East, lands of the Rev. Francis Woodgate (the 
Moat) and the brook that divides Kent from Sussex North, and the highway from East 
Grinsted to Tunbridge Wells South, all occupied by Edmund Everest, formerly 
by Edward Gainsford. Witness, Edmund Everest and Tho. Scoones. The price 
seems extraordinarily low, being less than £10 an acre. 

Henry Woodgate died ai Summerhill in 1787, and was buried at Tonbridge 
on 8th December. The monument to his memory refers to the organ in Ton- 
bridge Church, his last gift, near which it was erected : — 

" While within these hallowed walls 

Devotion feels an ardour 
Raised and refined by Holy Harmony, 
Let pious gratitude revere and cherish 
The memory of Henry Woodgate, Esq., 
late of Summer-hill. 
To record his beneficent virtues 
On the marble tablet, with the Eulogium 
They deserve, would be to violate 
that manly simplicity 
which marked his unassuming manners, 
And while it taught him to do good in secret 
Rendered him superior to the praise of an epitaph 
And the ostentation of a tomb. 
He left these earthly tabernacles 
To join the choir of Heaven. 
December ist, 1787, 
aged 87. 

This is styled by the Gentleman's Magazine as " An elegant monumental inscription 
for a gentleman who by his will gave money to erect an organ, which has been done 
accordingly." This will is dated 7th December, 1782, and in it he devises to brother 
Francis Woodgate his moiety of the Stonewall estate in Chidingstone and Penshurst. 
To his sister x\nn Woodgate the two houses in Tonbridge, occupied by himself and 
Thomas Vine ; also several fields called Clapper Fields on the East side of the 
Clappers, Tonbridge in his own tenure, for life, and after her death to his nephew 
Henry Woodgate. All pictures, plate, linen, and effects to brother Francis, also 
£4,000. Dryhill (in Chevening and Sundridge, occupied by John Wingate) and three 
shares in Medway Navigation Company to nephew Henry. To nephew Stephen 
Woodgate five of such shares and ;(5oo. To sister Ann :^200. Niece Mary Acton 
;^ioo, children of deceased niece Alicia Ashburnham £20 each. Nieces Rose, Sarah, 
Ann, and Frances Woodgate and Elizabeth Humphry ;£ioo each. Kinsman John 
Woodgate of Tonbridge, £50. Revd. Mr. Harpur, Vicar of Tonbridge, ;^20 ; Ann 
Dudgen of Tonbridge, widow, ;^io. Poor of Tonbridge, £10. Servants, 20'- each. 
;f6oo to be laid out in the purchase of an organ to be placed in Tonbridge Church, 
under the direction of nephew William Woodgate, the Vicar, George Children of 
Tonbridge, Esq., and Thomas Scoones of Tonbridge, Gent. All other monies, lands, 
houses, and manors to nephew William Woodgate, the sole executor. Witnessed 
by Mary Ann Scoones. 

By a previous will of 29th November, 1779, but revoked, he had given his 
brother £8,000 instead of £4,000 ; Dryhill to Stephen instead of to Henry, and in 
lieu of the £500 legacy ; the furniture to Anne for hfe and then to Henry absolutely ; 
and Holly wish to Henry, instead of allowing it to pass with the residue. Also £500 
for an organ instead of £600. 

Ann Woodgate, the last of her generation, continued to live on at Tonbridge 
until her death in 1792 ; she was buried on 21st September at Tonbridge. 

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Satt of 


r of Whatlington, 
4oY. 1V90. 

John Woodgate, Mary, bap. 2 March^John At— 

bap. 30 Sep. 1737 ; mar. 24 Jan. I Inner 1 , , . 

1735 ; bur. 11 1765 ; d. 1 Jan. | 23 Mar^^^*^ "^ 

March 1736. 1785. "^Pv 

, 1 June 



John Acton of Car Henry Acton, 

Mount, near Whit- b. 14 Oct. 1769; 

by, Yorkshire, b. 22 d. 3 May 1771. 
Sep. 1767. 

William Fran«- 

of Tonbridge , „ „, I 

Summerhill,b.*n Hartrup Wed 
28 March 1770 ^«?^ern Park, 
1828. '^^'^S^- 

15 Feb. 1806 ; 
Aug. 1818. 



Anna, b. 9 Dec. 
1795 ; bap. 3 
Feb. 1796 ; bur. 
11 April 1796. 

Anna, b. 31 Jan.,= 
bap. 12 Feb. 1797 ; 
mar. 1828; d. 25 
June 1829. 

=Henry Buttanshaw 
of West Peckham, 

). 21 Jan., bap. i 
nar. 10 June 18^ 

An infant child, 
d. 24 July 1829, 
aged 2 months. 


^George Arbutj 

Fran(^oodgate Ar- 
mar. Annie, 
Sir Charles 

I I I 

Cathe-=7=Rev. Augustus Ellen Hamilton 
William Warde Susan, Woodgate, 
of Little Hor- d.l909. d. 13 Feb. 
sted, Sussex. 1857, un- 








b. 1826 ; 


d. 1827. 








E. Fran- 




Augustus Fran- Edward Charles Ca 

cis Warde. Warde. 

— — Mi 

Henry John George Frede- 

Warde. rick Warde. 

ford W 
gate of 
ner Tei 

Julia ] 




MOUNTFIELD, 1732-1790. 

Francis Woodgate, fifth son of John Woodgate of Summerhill, was sent to school 
at Tonbridge, from which in 1727, he gained the Smythe exhibition, tenable for 
seven years at either University. He proceeded, as we have seen, to Trinity College, 
Oxford, where he matriculated on 31st March, 1726, and graduated B.A., 1729, 
M.A., on 4th February, 1734. 

He took orders, and was hcensed in March, 1732, to the curacy of Kemsing- 
oim-Seal, near Sevenoaks, on an annual stipend of £30. He was there for less than 
a year, but in that time he met Mary Thompson (a) of Hall Place, Seal, whom he 

(a) The Thompsons of Stone Street were settled at Hall Place, in Stone Street, Seal. There is a 

marble tablet above the south door to Thomas Thompson, nephew of Mary Woodgate, as follows: 
' ' Near this tablet 
are deposited the remains of 
Thomas Thompson, 
late of Hall Place, in this parish 
who died January 1st, 1805, aged 61 years. 
Also of Sarah, wife of the above, 
who died November 20th, 1781, aged 35 years. 
Also of Sarah their daughter, 
who died May 25th, 1779, aged 4 years. 
They left issue, two sons, Thomas and John." 
There is another tablet, near the same place : — 

' ' In memory of 
Thomas Thompson, 
of Fawke, in this parish, 
who died August 1st, 1832, aged 54. 
Also Ehzabeth, 
wife of the above, 
who died February 9th, 1833, aged 78. 
Also Sarah 
only daughter of the above, 
who died December 13th, 1823, 
aged 6 years." 
This Thomas Thompson sold HaU Place to Lord Camden. The arms of the family are ' ' Azure, 
a Uon statant guardant or." ; crest, a wivem ; or (according to Burke, who is probably wrong) 
" a Hon rampant ducally gorged or." Motto : Nil conscire sibi. 

In the pedigree of the Woodgates, drawn up by the Rev. Thomas Streatfeild, F.S.A., of Charts 
Edge, to accompany the coats of arms intended as a wedding present for Clare Woodgate and 
Francis Woodgate of Falconhurst in 1838, to which it was to form a key, Streatfeild observes 
' ' The arms bom for Thompson are manifestly wrong ; I have therefore passed them over." This 
allusion is explained in a short manuscript pedigree of the Thompsons, in which he says ' ' Mary 
m. the Revd. Francis Woodgate, on whose monument at Tonbridge the arms of Thompson 
of Kenfield in Petham are impaled." (Thomas Thompson of Keniield, son of the last Thompson 
of Sandwich, married Ehzabeth sister of Sir John Leveson of Hallingy and had issue Sir John 
Thompson, who died s.p., 1645. For their pedigree, see Hasted). In the Thompson pedigree 
however, Streatfeild gives the arms as stated above. 

All doubt on the subject is dissipated by a letter of Charles Thompson, addressed to Streat- 
feild, in 1828, (Brit. Museum, Add. MSS. 33929, foHo 135). 

' ' Sir, — ^The impression of the arms on this note are those received by my father upon 
applying upwards of fifty years since at the Heralds Office for the arms of Thompson. The same 
were used by his Father and Grandfather, and he has no doubt but they are the correct arms of 
Thompson. I have the honour to remain, 

Sir, yours respectfully, 
iloohester, Nov. 25th, 1828. Charles Thompson." 

Wootiflate of pummnW' 


The Bev. Francis Woodgate, M.A., "Vicar of Mountfield and Rector of Whatlington, Sussex,=rMary, dau. of Thomas 
5th son of John Woodgate of Summerhill ; b. 25 Deo. 1706 ; bur. 17 Nov. 1790. I bap. 6 Apnl 1714 ; mai 

Joliii Woodgate, 
bap. 30 Sop. 
17a6i bur. U 
March 173(). 

Mary, bap. H Maroh^JoIin Acton of the 


Rose of Tollbridge, Alicia, b. 174.1 ;=pSir William Ashburn- 
bap. 25 Oct. 1739 ; mar. 1766 ; d. I ham of Uroomham, 
d. 1 Jan. 1827, un- 1777. I Sussex, Bart, 

mar, + 

(See p. 76.) 

William Woodgate of=rFrances, 
Summerhill, bap. 5 " ' ' 
Aug. 1743; d. 28 May, 
bur. 3 June 1809. 

. of John Hooker of Ton- 

Stephen Woodgate of 
Sevenoaks, bap. 16 
May 1745 ; d. 1 Jane 
1811, umuar. 

Henry Woodgate of=rEllen Ham 
Riverhill, b. 1746. I mar. 1780. 

(See Chap. Till.) 

John Acton of Car Henry Acton, 

Mount, near Whit- b. 140ut. 1769; 

by, Yorkshire, b. aa d. 3 Miiy 1771. 
Sep. 1767. 

Francis Woodgate=pAnna, dau. of Thomas Frances, b. 16 Nov. 1772 ; bap.=pBichard AUnutt of South Anne, b. 1774 ;=rPeter Nouaille of Great- 

of Tonbridf^ii Ca^itto and of 
Sunmiertiili.l), 13 Feb., bap. 
28 March 1770; d. 24 Juue 

Allnutt of Eltha 
30 Sop. 1774; mar. 21 
Feb. 1794 J d. 7 March 

Park, Penshurst. 

(See Chap. XIII.) 

I. 1775 ;=John Hartrup West John Woodgate of Stone- 

of Postern Park, wall, b. 24 Aug. 1778; 

Tonbridge. bap. 24 Oct. 1778 ; d. 13 

(See Chap. XV.) Jan. 1842, unmar 

Georgina Martha, b. 15 Feb. 1806 ; bap. Musgrave Brisco of Cogh 
19 May 1806 ; d. 11 Aug. 1818. M.P. ; mar. 8 Oct. 1828. 

Anna, b. 9 Dec. 
1795; bap. 3 
Feb. 1790 ; bur. 
U Ai,ril 179G. 

Anna, b. 31 Jan.q 
bap. 12 Feb. 1797 ; 
mnr. 1828 ; d. 25 
June 1829. 


An infant 
d. 24 July 
aged 2 mo 


Frances, b. 4 May,=T=Rev. Thomas Knox, D.D., 
bap. 4 July 1798 ; I Headmaster of Tonbridije 
mar. 19 Aug. 1815; School ; d. 21 June 1843, 
d. 1830. aged 59. 

I n n n 

mus Thomas HoUia Arthur 
Kno.\. Kuox. Knox. 

William Woodgate of=rHarriott, dau. of Col. Rev. Henry Arthur Woodgate,=pMaria, dau. of Ed- Maria, 

Swaylauds, Penshurst, 
and of Lincoln's In 
Fields, b. 28 Sep., baj 
5 Nov. 1799; d. 1 

b. 1826; 
d. 1827. 

Cathe-rRcv. Augustus E 
rine, | WilliamWarde Si 
mar. of Little Hor- d. 
1854; sted, Sussex. 

Hamilton Augustus Fran- 

len Hamilton 

Lsan, Woodgate, 

1909. d. 13 Feb. 

1857, un- 

Ashley Henry Sidney Wil- 

Woodgate, Lt. liam Wood- 

60th Royal gate, d. 26 

Rifles; d, 13 Feb. 1883, 

May 1866. s.p. 

James West, R.A., of 
Woohvich; b. 15 Dec. 
1804; mar. 16 Aug. 
1825 ; d. 29 Deo. 1879. 

B.D., Rector of Belbroughtoi 
and Hon. Canon of Worcester, 
b. 25 April, bap. 12 June 1801 ; 
d. 24 April 1874. 

ward Chapman 
" iiford,E.I. Co.; 
.31 May 1838; 


rge Arbuthnot of Elderslie, d. 1886. 

George Arbuth- James Woodgate Ar- Herbert Robin 

not, mar. Mary buthuot, mar. Annie, Arbuthnot, ma 

Leslie. dau. of Sir Charles Evelyn Xoel. 


Herbert Wood-=f Mary 

ugustus I 
5 Wardc. 

Cithenne. Evelyn William Wood- 

— Cathe- gate. 

Mary. rine. _ 

Percival Woodgate, 
March 1874, unmar. 

Ernest Wood-=rEdith, dau. of Cecil Willii 




West Wood- 

William Wood- Violet Edith Streat- Hamilto'u Strcitfeild 
gate, Lt. King 9 feild, mar., 22 Sep. Woodgate. 
Own; killed S. 1908, Gilbert Selwyu _ 

Africa 1900. Robins. Lionel Streatteild 


Mary, mar. 
ton Laing. Cecil Vea- 





Water Brad- 

Major-Gen. Sir 



ford Wood- 

Rlmml Robert 


gate of the In- 

Pr«vost Wood- 



ner Temple. 

gate; killed, S. 



Africa, 1900. 

Alice Rose 

. Julia Mary. 
Grace Maria. 





. Alk 

smootisatt of j^ummevijiU 



i,SiiH«ox,=T=Mary, dan. of Tl.oraas Thompson of Hall Place, Seal (aee p. 46) ; 
bap. (1 April 1714; mar. 12 Sep. 1734; bur. 8 Jan. 1785. 

olni Hooker of Ton- 
lur. 30 Maroh I76»; 
Deo. 1803, ancd 00. 

'louaillo of Grout. 

Hf,oplioii Wooden 
May 1746'; i. 1 .1 

nlnide ofT=l';ilen Hammond, 

Sarah of Tonbridjte, 
bap. 31 May 1748; 
d. 14 June 1812, un- 


William Humphry, Ann of Tonbridge, 

of Seal, etn. biip. 4 Oct. 1752 ; 

d. 23 March 1803, 

(See Chap. VI\) 

Frances, bap. 16 April 
175C; mar. 26 Oct, 
1784 ;d. 5 Jan. 1786. 

=Eev. Richard Hideout, M.A., Rector of Westmeston, 
Sussex. He remar. Sarab, widow and relict of Samuel 
NicoU of Court Lodjfe, Mountfield. 

lliirtrup Wwt John WoodgatootStono- Rev. Stephen Woodgate, Vicar=rFrance8, sister of hr.«t 
Btorn I'ark, wall, b. 24 Aug. 1778; of I'embury, b. 1780. I Viscount Hardinge ; 

- ■ — I mar. 1809. 

(See Sheet No. VII.) 

n. Georgina Hamilton, d 
.'iscount Boyne, b. 23 F 
5 ; mar. 16 June 1804 ; 
Dec. 1809. 1st wife. 

■Heury Woodgate(2ndsQn),of Spring^Clare, dau. ot the Rev. Thomas Harvey of Redleafe, Fonshurst' 
Grove, Pembury, b. 28 March 1771 ; b. 30 July, bap. 3 1 July 1793 ; mar. 3 Maroh 1813 ; remar. lie?' 
d. 27 Deo. 1818. | Thomas Streatfeild, F.S.A., of Charts Edge, Westerham, 29 Sep. 

1823, and had issue. 2nd wife. 

=Charles Hay Fre\Tfcn ot Cold Overton Hall, 
Leicester, M.P. I^id husband. 

Henrv Woodgate, b. 24 Jan. 
1815 ;■ d. 21 May 1815. 

Clare, b. 6 May 1816; mar. 1838 ;: 

to.^Mnriii, ilriu. of Ed- 
ard Clianmnn 
radford,E.I. Co.; 
lar. 31 May 1888; 

Maria, b. 21 Jan., bnp. J;Pob.T=Jarao8 Thomas, M.C.S. ; 
1803 ; mnr. 10 Juno 18^. | d. 6 Jan. 1840, 


MarittyGoorgo Ailmthnot of Eldor.slic, d. 1896. Emma, d. 1890=pCul. Peregrine Madgewick Francis. 

Francis Woodgate ot Falcon- 
hurst, Cowden, and ot the 
War OfBce; b. 4 Oct., bap. 
22 Deo. 1808; d. 16 Oct. 

George Arbuth- James Woodgjito Av- Herbert Robinson Lennox 
not, mav. Mary bulhnot, nuir. Annie, Arbutlinot, mar. Arbuth- 
I'Ml'O- dau. of Sir Charles Evelyn Noel. not. 

_ l_ 

William Rose Robinson. 1871. 

Peregrine C. Cot- Norman Arbuth- 

ton Francis, mar. not Francis, mar. 

Florence Hale. Eva Pennington. 

Has issue, Hugh Issue. 

May, mar. 



4. WiUir 

1. May. 

— Robinson. 

2. Julia. — 

— 5. James. 

3. Edith. 

=CIare, dau. and coheiress 
of Henry Woodgate of 
Spriug Grove, mar. 14 
Feb. 1838; d. 15 Feb. 

Julia, b. 5 Aug., 
bap. 29 Oct. 
1810 ;d. 27 June 

Decimus Woodgate (Aiutmlia), 
b. 5 March 1812; bap. 20 Nov, 
1812; mar. Gertrade Beresain 
of Coblentz on the Rhine. H« 
d. Jan. 1875. 



Gertrude EmmaxKev. Henry 
Rose. I Bevis, Vicar 

of ArUngbam, 

d. 1890, 


ria. Veasev 




Francis WiiUam Woodgate Bevi!. 

Walter Brad- 
ford \rood- 
gate i>( the In- 
ner Temple. 

Juliii Mary. 

Grace Maria. 

MiijorGcn Sir Arthur Seymour Gerald Marriott Alfred Henry=rGertrude Francisfeenrv Anna Sus- 
^r," \v H i7h''*^*'VT;- yr^^g^h """■• l^Sustine l AmeHaNew- Woodgi|,Miior anna, d. 
1 rev ost Wood- Kathenne Wylde Ada S. Bolton. Woodgate. brouner. 14th Belal Na- 1858 

Austin Bradford Woodgate 

FrancesT=Commauder Musgrave^^Rosd 

Amelia, , Richard Wil- Woodgate, : BUioi 

d. 1909. I liam Wliish, d. 1886. | 
d. 1902. 

Rev. Gordon 
mar. Laura 

Harvey Woodgate, 
mar. Clara . . . • 
She d. 1909. 

Woodi,iit.-. 'i- 

Katherine Clare. 

William Henry 
Whish, mar. 
Violet O'Dono- 

Sophia Frances, George Streat- John Sidney Ethel Constance, mar. Francis, d. inf. Frances Clare. Rose. Clare Laura Gordon, 

mar. Essex Hoi- feild Whish. Whish. Vivian Arthur Mar- — — — — 

combe, who d. - _ s\ki\. Ernest Wood- Clemence Hilda, Francis William 

1910. Amy Mary. Margaret - gate, d. inf. Woodgate. dead. Woodgate, d. inf. 

Evelyn. Richard Victor Whish. 1883. 

Eleanor_Gordon. ^^J^'X^. 

Henry Gordon gate- _ 


afterwards married. He was presented to the Vicarage of Mountfield in that year, 
and in 1734 to the adjoining Rectory of Whathngton, both in the patronage of the 

The arms on the note were the same as those aheady mentioned. The crest, according to 
Hasted, is a Dragon. 

The marriage articles of William Thompson and Mary Harbroe were dated 30th April, 1682, 
and made between WilUam Thompson of the first part, Francis French of Seal, Gent., and Henry 
Streatfeild of Chidingstone, Gent., (trustees) of the second part, and Mary Harbroe of Tonbridge, 
widow, of the third part. 

By her will she gave £100 to her child (unborn) and the residue to the children of the marriage 
equally ; if no children, then (in certain proportions) to Sir Bernard Hyde, Dame Margaret his 
wife, Henry Streatfeild, Francis French, stepson Thomas Harborrow, nephew Anthony son of 
William Vincent, and WiUiam Thompson, 

Mary the third wife of Wilham Thompson, wiU dated 16th May, proved at Tonbridge 6th 
July, 1709, mentions the children of her brothers Ambrose, WiUiam, and John Martin; kinsmen 
John, Ambrose, Richard, George, Roger, and Mary Keble ; sister Katherine wife of Samuel 
Ladbrooke, late of Beckley ; ' ' son-in-law " (stepson) Thomas Thompson ; Thomas Thompson 
of Ightham, and Mary his daughter, and cousin Mary, wife of Richard Children of Tonbridge. 
Affidavit on her burial sworn by Mary Childrens. 

The following entries in the register cannot be fitted into the pedigree. (N.B. — The 
accompanjang pedigree was constructed in the first instance almost entirely from the Seal 

Seal. 1793. WiUiam, son of WiUiam and Ann Thompson, bapt. 19th May. 
Seal. 1784. Sarah, wife of WiUiam Thompson, bu. 26th November, aged 36. 
Hever. 1738. Ehzabeth Thompson, of Seal, bu. 13th January. 
Thompson of Seal had two children : — 

1. William, of whom presently. 

2. Thomas of Ightham, m. 3rd July, 1687, Catherine Cheeseman, of Rochester, and had 
issue Mary, living 1709. 

William of Hall Place, Seal, buried " in hnen " 3rd July, 1708. 
m. 1st Margaret, and had issue 

1. Mildred, bu. 30th September, 1683. 

2. Thomas, of whom presently. 

He m. secondly Mary, daughter of John Vincent and Dorothy his wife, the rehct of James Harbroe 
of Sundridge, bu. 3rd February, 1684. WiU dated 14th July, 1683, pr. at Rochester, 12th 
February, 1684. Had issue a child, who died young. He m. 3rd Mary Martin, sister of Ambrose 
Martin, bu. 24th May, 1709. 

Thomas of HaU Place, bapt. 19th November, 1673, bu. 18th June, 1739, left issue by 
Ehzabeth his wife (bu. 11th May, 1742). 

1. Wilham, bapt. 17th June, 1709. 

2. Mildred, bapt. 7th February, 1711, d. 12th October, 1792, m. WiUiam Everest and had 

issue, it seems, Edward bu. 26th November, 1744, and John. 

3. Mary, bapt. 6th April, 1714, m. Rev. Francis Woodgate, 

4. Thomas, of whom presently. 

5. John, bapt. 30th October, 1721, m. 26th November, 1760, Ehz. Hills of Seal, bu. 5th 

March, 1762. 
Thomas of HaU Place, bapt. 16th July, 1716, bu. 28th June, 1749, left issue 

1. Mary, bapt. 10th November, 1740, m. 16th June, 1772, Rev, John Ward AUen, Rector 

of Kidby and Minor Canon of Rochester. 

2. Ehzabeth bapt. 24th April, 1742, (?bu. 2nd December, 1759). 

3. Thomas, of whom presently. 

4. Richard, Senior Alderman and Mayor of Rochester, d. 3rd March, 1829, aged 79-80, 

leaving issue Charles of Rochester, who married Miss Stevens (or Dewsbery) only 

daughter of a wealthy brewer. He had sixteen children, eleven of whom 

survived. Mary Ann the eldest m. 23rd January, 1836, Thomas CameU of Sevenoaks. 

Thomas of HaU Place, bapt. 2nd January, 1744, d. 1st January, 1805, aged 61, leaving issue 

oy Sarah his wife (d. 20th November, 1781, aged 35) 

1. Thomas of Fawke, Seal, bapt. 30th September, 1773, d. Ist August, 1832, m. at Ightham, 

14th December, 1815, Ehzabeth daughter of John Taylor of the Warren, Kent, 
bu. 17th February, 1833 — then Uving at Borough Green, Wrotham — left issue 
Sarah, only child, b. 1817, d. 13th December, 1823. 

2. Sarah, bapt. 14th May, 1775, d. 25th May, 1779, aged 4. 

3. Rev. John Thompson, bapt. 1st November, 1780. Sidney College, Cambridge, B.A., 

1802. M.A., 1806— Vicar of Meopham, Kent. 


Duke of Dorset, of Knowle, Sevenoaks. On 12th September, 1734, he married 
Miss Thompson ; the wedding was at St. Martin's Outwich, in London. 

Mountfield is a pretty Httle Sussex village, between Robertsbridge and Battle. 
The parsonage at Whatlington was small and mean, that at Mountfield is of good 
size and beautifully situated. It is approached through a splended avenue of chest- 
nuts, planted by the NicoUs, which is terminated at length by two gates, side 
by side. That on the right opens into a road leading, after a short distance, to 
Court Lodge (now Mountfield Court), the " great house "; the other leads into a 
road which gradually sinks, passes Court Lodge on the right, leaves the vicarage 
garden on the left, rounds the corner immediately under the vicarage (which here 
stands some twenty feet above the road) and enters some meadows beyond, among 
which are the Court Lodge kitchen and walled gardens, and finally joins the public 
road opposite the Church gate. The vicarage looks down perpendicularly on to the 

Court Lodge is a large and handsome red-brick house picked out with stone ; 
it belonged to John NicoU [b), a J. P. and Deputy Lieutenant for the County, and High 
Sheriff in 1741. He planted the chestnut avenue. 

The first of the Mountfield letters is from Francis Woodgate to his mother, 
at Summerhill, and is as follows : — 
" Dear Mother, 

As it is a great pleasure to us to hear from our Friends in Kent, so I dare say 
it is to you to hear from us in South Britain. We are all in good health, tho I have 
lately been very much troubled with a pain in my Stomach. Rose's Face begins to 
break out again a little, tho not hkely I hope to run to such a height as it was before. 
Molly will talk all day long of her aunt Children's Coach coming to carrye her to her 
Grandmamma's. I think it is a very great misfortune that you can't see the little 
Maids oftener. If it was but an hour's walk, how diverting would they be to you ; 
but as Providence has fixt us at such a dirty Distance from you, I can only now and 
then amuse you with a little of their innocent Prittle Prattle ; for tho Rose indeed 
can't speak a word, yet she begins to make herself understood, and gives such 
broad Signs, which tho unintelligible to every body else, are very plain to those that 
are about her. She is the most good natured, laughing, kissing little Girl that I 
ever saw in my life. We have as dismal weather at Munfield, I suppose, as you have 
at Summer- hill ; it makes short days win nothing at all. Our poor People are 

(6) An account of Mountfield would be incomplete without mention of the NicoUs. The family 

is descended from the Nicolls of Hendon Place, Bliddlesex (living there temp. Henry V), 
who bore for their arms ' ' Azure, on a fess between three hons heads erased argent, as many 
swallows proper." They were granted to Wilham NicoU of Ridgeway, Hendon ; and his 
descendant, the Rev. Chas. NicoU of St. Leonards has the original grant. 

James Nicoll, grandson of WiUiam, owned Court Lodge and appears in the Heralds Visita- 
tion of Sussex in 1724. He left it by wiU in 1730 to liis cousin the above mentioned John, 
who married Welthian daughter of William Jordan, and died in December, 1777, leaving issue : — 

John Luke NicoU, appointed Deputy Paymaster General of aU His Majesty's Forces in 
Germany and the Low Countries in 1747. He married EUzabeth daughter of Sir James Gray, 
Bart., and was buried at Mountfield in 1767, in his father's hfetime, leaving 

1. John NicoU, of Court Lodge, J.P., for Sussex, Secretary and Registrar of Chelsea 

Hospital, died June, 1788. 

2. Samuel NicoU of Court Lodge, the " Nabob," J.P., Accountant-general to East Lidia 

Company, died 26th April, 1787, aged 43 (monioment to him in St. Albans Abbey). 

He m. Sarah daughter of Francis Carter NiccoU, who remarried in 1789 the Rev. 

Richard Rideout, of whom lat«r. 
Court Lodge descended to Samuel John Nicoll, son of Samuel, an officer in His Majesty's Army, 
and was eventuaUy sold in 1859 by one of his sons to the late Mr. E. C. Egerton, whose widow, 
Lady Mary Egerton, occupied it tiU her death in 1905. It now belongs to her son, who married 
the Hon. Mabel Brassey. It does not appear that Samuel NicoU ever resided there, as it was 
occupied successively by Lord ChanceUor Thurlow, and Mr. Smee (a London Merchant) ; and 
afterwards, it would seem, by the Lambs. 



ready to starve ; and the Parson [himself] has not yet collected his Tithes, tho he 
has been very busye lately in getting the accounts, and yesterday gave notice for 
a[^meeting on Thursday Se'nnight, I was lately a hunting ; we found plenty of 
Hares, within a field or two of my House ; we found a Leach, killed a brace, and had 
very good sport. I was in hopes my Brother would have come and taken them off, 
and if he will come yet, I believe the Parish of Munfield will afford him Game. 
You'll say that I shall tire your Patience with such a tedious epistle, but as it is my 
Birthday, I hope you'll excuse me if I am a little longer than ordinarye. We intend 
to drink all your healths in the Evening as I dare say you will ours at the same 
Time. Our neighbour is high Sheriff for the ensuing year, so that I may have the 
pleasure of taking a Trip to assizes again, but I believe I shall beg to be excused. 
Mr. Noaks of Brightling is lately recovered of the Small Pox. I expect my Brother 
Jacky, & Richd. Erridge down about Christmas. I hope my Brother Harry, 
if he wont bring his Hounds, will be so good as to accompanye my Brother Jacky. 
I wish we could come as easily at this Piece of Paper, and spend the Christmas with 
you. My Wife is very busye in her Family affairs, and joins in respects to yourself. 
Brothers, Sisters, and all Friends with 

Yr. Dutifull and affectionate Son, 

Fran Woodgate. 
December 8th, 1740. 

Molly is just come up to me, and desires that I would talk about her aunt's 
Coach, and when the Cuckoo has eat up all the Dirt, that's her expression, she'll 
come and see you." 

The High Sheriff in 1741 was John Nicoll of Court Lodge, and Francis Woodgate 
was his chaplain. The Nicolls were firm supporters of the reigning family ; and, in 

one of his letters to the Duke of Newcastle, John Nicoll speaks of ' ' the d d old 


The Sussex roads about this period were bad beyond description. Some idea 
of the state of the neighbourhood may be gathered from a letter of Horace Walpole, 
who made a pilgrimage through Kent and Sussex in 1752. He writes from ' ' Battel " 
in August : — 

* ' From Summerhill (see p. 37 ) we went to Lamberhurst to dine ; near which, 
that is at the distance of three miles up and down impracticable hills, in a retired 
vale, such as Pope describes in the last Dunciad, 

' Where slumber Abbots, purple as their vines ;' 

we found the ruins of Bayham Abbey, which the Barrets and Hardinge's bid us 
visit. . . . Here our woes increase. The roads grew bad beyond all badness, 
the night dark beyond all darkness, our guide frightened beyond aU frightfulness. 
However, without being at all killed, we got up or down, I forget which, it was so 
dark, a famous precipice called Silver Hill, and about ten at night arrived at a 
wretched village called Robertsbridge. We had still six miles hither, but deter- 
mined to stop, as it would be a pity to break our necks before we had seen all we 
intended. But alas ; there was only one bed to be had, and the rest was inhabited 
by smugglers, whom the people of the house called Mountebanks ; and with one of 
whom the lady of the house told Mr. Chute he might lie. We did not at all take to 
this society, but, armed with links and lanthorns, set out again upon this imprac- 
ticable journey. At two o'clock in the morning we got hither to a still worse inn, 
and that crammed with excise officers, one of whom had just shot a smuggler. 
However, as we were neutral powers, we have passed with safety thro' both 
armies hitherto, and can give you a little farther history of our wandering thro' these 
mountains, where the young gentlemen are forced to drive their curricles with a 
pair of oxen. The only morsel of good road we have found was what even the natives 


had assured us was totally impracticable ; these were eight miles to Hurst Monceaux." 
In another letter he states that ' ' On our return we had an opportunity of surveying 
that formidable mountain Silver Hill, which we had floundered down in the dark. 
It commands a whole horizon of the richest blue prospect you ever saw." 

This description sufficiently explains the allusions in the previous letter, and 
helps one to understand the difficulty of getting about the country even in August. 
The next letter is dated from London ; Francis Woodgate had accompanied his 
brother, who was to undergo an operation by Samuel Sharp, the most eminent 
surgeon of his day. Mrs. Everest was his sister-in-law and seems to have lived 
at Bromley or Plaistow. 

" Dear wife. 

We got safe to London a Thursday Night ; I called at Mr. Everest's and stayed 
about a quarter of an hour. My Brother's Fistula was cut this day, and the Surgeon, 
whose Name is Sharp, thinks it may be very easily cured. I shall stay here till my 
Brother has a Companion from Tunbridge, wch I hope will be a Monday or Tuesday 
at farthest. I propose to spend one night with them [the Everests] at Bromley, 
if it be possible. Mr. Swain [of Fish Hall, Hadlow, Francis Woodgate's brother- 
in-law] thinks of returning tomorrow, so that I shall be left to Nurse the Sick tiU 
Monday or Tuesday ; however, he is as hearty as can be imagined. As I came out in 
a Hurry, I did not think to ask you whether I should buy you any thing, but as I 
don't know when I shall have another opportunity, I shall endeavour to procure 
you a few trifles, to make you some amends for this unexpected absence. As I am 
and have been somewhat in a Hiurry, especially of Thought, I hope you'll excuse 
the shortness of my letter, wch with my Love to the httle Dears I shall conclude 
with assuring you what I believe you will easily believe that I am, with the greatest 

Yours, F.W. 
George Inn, Southwark, 

Deer. loth, 43." 

Francis Woodgate sometimes bought " a few trifles " for himself, of which we 
have a specimen in the bill of G. Hawkins of London, bookseller. 


£ s. d. 

Octr. 17 I Warren's Discourses, 3 Vols. . . . . o 15 

I Traps Sermon . . . . . . . . 010 

I Stebbings Sermon . . . . . . 003 

Apr. 24 I Nature Display'd. 4 Vols. 8vo. . . . . 140 

I Com. Prayr. 8vo. Turkey . . . . 060 

I I2VO. Do. . . . . . . 036 

I Lovling's Persius . . . . . . . . 010 

Deer. 24 I Rapin's History, 2 Vols 2 10 o 

I Moll's Geography . . . . . . i i o 

i^ I 9 

At that period novels were largely unknown. In 1771 the death occurred of 
Francis Woodgate's old friend, John Children of Ferox Hall ; and he received a 
memorial ring from George Children the son, together with a brief letter. The 
closest ties of intimacy subsisted between the two families. 

" Tonbridge, 19th May, 1771, 
"Dear Sir, 

I am persuaded you wiU receive with a melancholy satisfaction the enclosed 
Memorial of an old and sincere Friend. I, who well knew his heart, know that few 
had a warmer place in it than you and yours ; and in begging your acceptance of 


this Trifle, at the same time that I gratify myself, I act on a motive, which I hope 
will always have the greatest weight with me, that of doing what he would have 
wished. I am too well convinced of the sincere return of Friendship on your part to 
doubt of yom- most hearty Sorrow for the great and sudden Loss We have sustained. 
Long may it be before your Worthy Family experience how very hard it is to part 
from a beloved and respected Parent, and may You and Mrs. Woodgate long con- 
tinue to enjoy every comfort that dutiful and affectionate Children can give ! My 
poor Mother, who is, I thank God, somewhat better, both in health and spirits than 
she has been, most heartily joins me in this and every good wish to you all ; and I 
remain, dear Sir, your much afflicted but very sincere Friend and humble Servt., 

Geo. Children." (c). 

By this time, the eldest son William was married and settled at Summerhill ; 
and several of the other children were married. Amongst them was Mary, who 
married in 1765 John Acton of the Inner Temple, London ; and Alicia, who married 
in 1766 Sir Wilham Ashburnham of Broomham near Hastings. The birth of 
William's third child, Frances, gave occasion to a letter to his sister Ehzabeth who 
was staying at Summerhill at the time ; it is written from Mountfield by Mrs. 

" To Miss E. Woodgate, 

at Summerhill, near Tonbridge, Kent. 

Thursday ye 19th Novbr., '72. 
I thank you miost kindly, my dear Bessy, for your last night's epistle, which 
made us all very happy to hear Mrs. Woodgate is in a good way, and I dare say my 
dear you are as much rejoyced as we are. 'Tis a delightful thing to have it in your 
power to send us such a pleasing account ; most sincerely do I hope it will continue, 
and most heartily do I congratulate you all on the occasion. 'Twas kind of dear 
little Willie to shew his sister his best pocket handkerchief ; dear little fellow, 'twas 
a pretty thought, it pleased me much. As to the dear little girl, I think it is to be 
feared she won't live long ; I wou'd have Mrs. Woodgate think so, that she may'nt 
be surprized if any such thing shoud happen. Your Father is got pure well again, 
and Sally we thought was better, but she has some how or other got a fresh Cold, 
and her Cough is worse than usual, which is a bad thing for those that are so thin 
as she is ; I hope she will soon get better. Mr. Bishop has been exceedingly ill indeed. 
Doctr. Watts and Mr. Young attend him ; the latter set up with him a Sunday 
night. He is now better, as is Mrs. Bishop who has been ill, and they have now two 
Servants very bad, which is very unlucky, particularly as there is Children which 
want a great deal of hand. I had a letter from Mrs. Acton yesterday which I shou'd 
have reed, a Sunday ; when that was wrote they were all well. Your Sister 

(c) There is one other letter addressed to the Rev. Francis Woodgate by no less a person than Hasted, 
the author of the history of Kent, one of the best county histories that have yet been written. 
His spelling of Mountfeild is curious. The correct spelling is Mundefeld. The name is derived 
from the Saxon word munde (mound) and feld i.e., campus, signifjdng the general or enclosed 
field. Vide Spelman Gloss, also Sir Wm. Burrell's MSS. Hasted's methods of acquiring 
information are interesting, and instructive to future historians ! 

I beg the favour of your assistance towards a work I have employed myself in for some 
years and have now nearly compleated, which is An Historical Survey of this County of Kent, 
and I should be more particularly obUged to you for it, in regard to an Estate you possess in 
Cowden called the Moat, which Philpott our former writer leaves in 1656 in the possession of 
one Gainsford. Who have been the owners since, to yourself, and the several years of transition 
from one to the others is what I should be much obHged to you for. I am thoroughly sensible 
of the trouble I am here giving and beg your Excuse for it, and whatever Civihty I may receive 
from you on this Account will be Ever acknowledged as a particular favor by, Sir, your much 
obhged and most obedient Servant, 

Edward Hasted, 
St. John's, near Dartford, Kent, 
April Ist, 1768," 


called on Mr. NicoU since he has been in his new habitation ; he has set it off to the 
best advantage, and they are mightily pleased with it. I am joyned in kind respects 
and best wishes for a good account next post, which will give great pleasure to my 
dear Betsy's sincere friend and affectionate Mother, 

M. Woodgate. 

I am glad to hear your Aunts are well. When you see them pray give our 
respects, and kiss little Fanny and the dear little Boys for me. I will repay you ye 
first opportunity." 

In 1775 Elizabeth Woodgate became the object of regard of Mr. R. H. Lambert, 
whom we take to be a son of Josias Lambert, an old friend of Francis Woodgate. 
Mr. Lambert's letter to Francis Woodgate follows : — 

' ' My dear Sir, 

'Tis now above two years ago since I took the liberty of disclosing to you the 
tender regard I entertained for your amiable Daughter Miss B. Woodgate. When 
I first had the pleasure of waiting upon your agreeable Family, I found your Daughter, 
not only what the world allowed her to be — confessedly beautiful — but what gave 
me infinitely more satisfaction, unconscious of it, good, amiable, and sensible. The 
most distant thought of fortune did not enter into my consideration, & whilst I 
indulged the pleasing hopes of rendering myself agreeable to her, I forgot that I 
was a younger Brother and yt. my little pittance would bear but a very small 
proportion to the great superiority of her merit. 

Circumstanced as I then was, I ventured to declare to you my situation, but 
with so much embarassment yt. I rather fear I injured than advanced myself in 
your good opinion ; yet when then you saw the confusion that arose from 
the delicacy of my situation, you kindly cherished the timidity of my hopes by wishing 
me settled in yom- own neighbourhood. Will you pardon me, my dear Sir, when I tell 
you that I presumed upon your friendship and yt. I took every honourable method 
my imagination could suggest to procure a living in the County of Sussex. I was 
unfortunate ; and my Father's late purchase in Suffolk has deprived me of the 
happiness of fixing in a Neighbourhood endeared to me by a thousand pleasing 
circumstances, by a thousand undeserved kindnesses. 

I should ill deserve the many obliging marks of friendship you have honoured 
me with were I to conceal from you a single sentiment of my heart. Indeed, Sir, 
you are fully entitled to know all my thoughts upon a subject that relates to any 
particular part of your family ; nor can I impolitely quit your house without assuring 
you that I stiU retain the same awakened affection for jn:. Daughter, and yt. I shall 
be most unhappy if a change of situation must ever remain as an insuperable objec- 
tion to my happiness. 

My little estate is worth Two thousand five hundred ; the hving ;^i5o pr. an., 
and my Father has been pleased to promise me £2000 at his death. I have also 
great hopes of getting another small living joined to my Rectory. 

You will easily see from the above that though I cannot command the genteel 
Luxuries of life, yet wiU there be, with a becoming economy, a due sufficiency for 
its most decent elegancies. I must confess I have no idle ambition to live above 
my income ; 'tis inconsistent with the independency of my spirit and very repug- 
nant to my ideas of propriety. 

Permit me. Sir, to assure you, that I have everything to hope from the sensi- 
bility and good understanding of your Daughter, and though I am very conscious 
that I cannot accommodate her in a manner suitable to my wishes and her merits, 
yet I know another very great truth, that I can give her a heart undebased by 
unworthy sentiments and trembhngly alive to her virtues and to her amiable quali- 


What I have wrote to day should have been mentioned yesterday. Why it was 
not, you who can feel will best be enabled to judge. 

Need I assure you with what respect and esteem I remain yours, 

R. H. Lambert. 
Salchr., Thursday Morng., Octobr. 4, '75." 

(The date is added in Mr. Woodgate's own hand). 
The request met with a cold water douche by way of reply : — 

"Dear Sir, 

I received yours of yesterday, and am sorry that you stiU entertain any thoughts 
of such a Connection as 3'ou mention'd. I was in hopes that they had taken a Turn 
some other way ; and whenever they do, I heartily wish that all the pleasing Ideas 
you form from such an attachment may answer your warmest wishes. You say 
it is two years ago that you first disclosed it to me. I then with freedom and Candour 
declared my sentiments upon it, that in general I could by no means enter into such 
an Engagement till it was known what part of the Kingdom it wd. be my daughter's 
Lot to be placed in, & that you was actually in possession & settled. I am still 
of the same way of thinking ; the reasons of this are so obvious that yoiur own Reflec- 
tions will easily lead you to them. But, my Dear Sir, there is another more material 
consideration which it will be proper without reserve to communicate ; the Inclina- 
tions are to be consulted, and I should by no means command, or unless there is 
some great Impropriety control them. I mentioned it to her yesterday, and was 
very candidly desired to acquaint you, that such a Connection was not agreeable, 
and she could not approve of it, is very much obliged to you for the favourable 
opinion you entertain of her, joins in compliments & wishes you many happy 
years, with, Dr. Sir, yr. most Faithful humble Servant, 

Francis Woodgate." 

There is a pretty little poem by Mr, Lambert headed " The Tears of Lady 
Fanny on the Downfall of the Weather Glass ; an Elegy " ; and also a Rebus 
addressed by him to the Miss Woodgates. There are no more letters from him, 
and in 1778 Elizabeth Woodgate married the Revd. William Humphry of Seal. 
There are, however, a few letters from Josias Lambert, who seems to have been 
a friend of the Woodgates in Sussex. He settled at Kendal, and kept up the 
intimacy by correspondence, of which two specimens survive : — 

" Dear Sir, 

On the ist of this Month I did myself the pleasure of sending you a Pot 
of Char, & expect it will be in London on the 12th. It is directed to be forwarded 
from the White Hart in the Borough. The Fish are the best that Winander-mere 
produces & I hope you will receive them safe & good. I am never so happy 
as when I have an opportunity of obliging my Friends & I beg you will accept 
this Trifle, as a smaU return for the many Civilities you shew'd me dm-ing my stay 
in Sussex. Notwithstanding the space betwixt us, I can sometimes hear of you ; 
but alas, notwithstanding what you us'd to remcirk concerning the Lancashire 
Witches, the Broomsticks have lost all their Virtues, and if I was to pick & 
choose amongst them for a Day together, not a Feather could I find upon one. 
Those were happy days when my Fair Countrywomen c'd have recourse to such 
clever expedients, but as those Days are fled, I must be content with staying where 
I am, and sending you a five days Paper-Flight account of myself. You will 
naturally imagine that I am scarcely compleatly settled yet ; indeed I am, & much 
more to my satisfaction than I could Ever have expected. The People, tho' blunt, 
are very honest and civil, and I have no reason to complain of any want of respect in 
them. As I have often mentioned the nature & appearance of this Country to 
you, I shall wave the description & only add, that for these two months past, 
it has exhibited such a Scene of Horror as baffles Imagination. A Gentleman 
of Veracity told me the other Day that he travell'd o'er a Glen or Dingle fuU of 


Snow, the depth of which, upon an average, might be 12 yds., & yet frozen so 
hard that Carts went over with safety. This collection of Snow was driven together 
by the Wind, but you will not be surpriz'd when I tell you that it lay in the open 
Fields above half a Yard deep. The Frost was equally severe ; & the River Kent, 
which is none of the stillest, bore Skaters in the space of two Nights only. I am 
affraid I have trespass'd upon yr. patience too much already & therefore, to come 
off with the best grace I can, will be to let you know that I am. Dear Sir, your most 
obliged, humble Servt., 

Josias Lambert. 
Kendal, 5th March, 72. 

P.S. — I beg you will present my sincere Respects and Compliments to Mrs. 
Woodgate & the young Ladies & teU them I often drink their Healths. Mr. 
Foster may think me Lazy, but I will soon convince him I am not. I sh'd be 
glad of a Line upon yr. receipt of the Char." 

The memory of those we Love and esteem is always to be cherished ; at least 
no person of common feeling would willingly efface the Impression, indeed the 
effort would be painful and disgusting. If any thing in Life, next to a good 
Conscience, is desireable, it must be the approbation & respect of amiable & 
benevolent Characters. As such I have always drawn your Family ; & the Picture, 
tho' finished some years, hath lost nothing either in keeping or colour. What gives 
me the greatest concern is that I have not more opportunities of seeing you ; but 
if the Vision of Fancy be indulged, I pay you many a visit. No longer since than 
Yesterday I drank your health in the upper Regions — don't stare — {i.e.) upon a 
Mountain elevated about | of a Mile in the Atmosphere. Much did I wish for 
Harry ; the Day' was fine, & diversion favourable. Having shot 3 Brace of Moor- 
Game, the Least of which weighed 230Z., My pleasure would have been much 
increased could I have transported them to you untainted, but that would have 
been impossible. However there is a little Packet upon the road for you, which 
I hope will : it is directed to you as usual, to be forwarded from the White Hart, 
Southwark; as it left Lancaster on the 4th inst., it will be in town of course in ten 
days from the Date. During my short stay with you, I mentioned the success of 
our Liverpool Privateers ; I say our, for we have a right to some pride, honest in 
its nature, from laudable exertions at this calamitous period, and now I have the 
pleasure to inform you that the famous Manila Ship was taken by the Amazon of 
the same place, called so from being in a great measure fitted out by a Party of 
Ladies, three of whom are my particular Friends, and of which one hath an 8th, 
the others a 32nd share between them. The Papers have pretended to ascertain 
her value ; as yet nothing certain is known, but it is supposed to be immense. When 
I left Sussex I called several times at the Sussex to see Mr. H. Woodgate, but was 
never so fortunate as to meet with him. My best Respects & Comps. attend Mrs. 
Woodgate & the young Ladies, and I beg leave to subscribe myself your faithful 
Friend & hble. Servt.i 

Josias Lambert. 
Kendal, Octobr. 5th, 79." 

The next four letters are written by the Revd. Edm. Mapletoft from his 
Vicarage of Widdington, near Quendon, Essex. He makes his proposals for Miss 
Anne Woodgate, and as the letters are similar in character to that of Mr. R. H. 
Lambert's, it is unnecessary to give them at length. Curiously enough, Mapletoft, 
like Lambert, says that " it is full two years since he had the pleasure of meeting 
her with Mr. and Mrs. Humfrey at Mr. Manesty's," and she therefore may not well 
remember him ; but there was one difference, and that is, his suit was received with 
more favour than Lambert's. The engagement was broken off because of Anne's 
continued iU-health, which would have rendered future happiness impossible ; but 
as Mapletoft so very nearly became connected with the family, it may be interesting 


to read such extracts as relate to himself. Writing to Mr. Woodgate, he says : — 

" I was presented the other day by the Society of Christ's College to a living 
in Hertfordshire of £300 a year ; my private fortune is ^^90 a year and I am 42 years 
of age. I know not any person to whom I can refer you except Mr. Manesty of 
Salhamstead near Reading ; he is perfectly acquainted with my circumstances 
& connections, and will very readily answer any inquiries you may do me the honour 
to make." This is dated 7th November (but no year) ; he writes on 25th Novem- 
ber that he had been instituted the previous day to the living of Anstye in Herts. 
The last letter, written about fifteen months later, is dated from Anstye (d). 
Miss Woodgate also received through the post the addresses of Mr. Thomas Nelson 
whom she met at Sevenoaks. 

The hues following may well be inserted here. ' ' A copy of verses made by 

the particular request of a young Lady on seeing Miss A. W - - d e. 

The Muses' aid I now require, 

And for good cause my Brains I tease, 
To sing the praise as you desire 
Of Lovely Ann in polonese. 
So graceful, smart and debonair 

That very Priests have lost their ease, 
And thro' an opera glass they stare 
At Pretty Anne in polonese. 


Oh, Tyson, you'd renounce your Doom 

And let the Belles dress as they please 
Did you but see, in your Ball Room, 

My Charming Ann in polonese. 

If thro' a village e'er she goes 

The clowns they stare and cry ' Adsmease, 
What's thai there thing ? ' cries Tom, * I'ze knows, 

'Tis Madam Ann in polonese.' 


How dainty she moves in the Dance, 

Old men they run and cough and weaze. 
And Macaronis skip and prance 

To view my Ann in polonese. 
Oh ! had I but a pen of spirit, 

I'd suffer not such verse as these 
To tell of the peculiar merit 

Of Beauteous Ann in polonese. 

In nobler strains my theme I'd breath. 

And on a Laurel wou'd I seize ; 
Fame shou'd adjust it in a wreath 

And crown Fair Ann in polonese. 
May there soon come a happy Swain, 

Who is by nature formed to please ; 
May he her favour quickly gain, 

And wed her in her polonese. 

(d) Mr. Mapletoft eventually married in April, 1787. 


It may appear absurd for Tom to know the name of the dress ; but he was a 
sharp Lad, moreover some excuse must be made for a young beginner." 

Anne Woodgate appears to have been staying with the Manestys about 1777, 
when she received the following letter from her sister Frances : — 

' ' What ! no letter John ? What unparalleled airs ! Did you ever hear the like 
Sally ? This, I presume, my dear Ann, was your soloquy last night ; how pleasant 
must it be therefore to you to find I am both grateful and punctual. I am perhaps 
as much fallen in love with my Cap, as Pygmalion was attached to his Stake. 
Seriously I admire it, am particularly obliged for the Tippet because it was a 
Voluntary & in short for everything. Once for all, / am not for many words, but 
I thank you kindly, & if any whimsical Revolution should happen in my affairs, 
you are the first on my list to be provided for. We may perhaps trouble you in town 
but I don't know for what. Mrs. and Miss Hammond I believe spend this week 
in Town, you may perhaps see them. Mr. Nicoll is vastly well, expects the 
Wedding folks down this week, but I rather think not till after Easter. I am very 
forward in the Gardining way, have caught two or three Elegant Colds at that 
diversion ; I believe I have migeonnett come up. Everything about Court Lodge 
is to be extremely neat, quite a pleasure to see how different the House looks. 
Betty's thanks to Sally for her favor. Our new maid is a bonny good natured 
Lassy, not comparable to Wickham in respect to beauty ; but when she has study'd 
Ld. Chesterfield {e) a little, I make no doubt of her acquitting herself well. Jack 
I imagine begins to count every hour, till the day of his perigrination. I had a 
long letter from Carter, she seemed to take mine as a favour, a worthy soul I do 
believe. My sister's congees for your Epistle. Betty & I agree to rise every 
morn at 5 to drink Sage Tea, being reckoned good for the memory. Pay my particular 
compliments to Mrs. Manesty ; Betsy will pay you for her sixpenny chicks some day 
with Interest. I heard from Mr. Ashburnham lately, they seem all quite well. 
Compliments to self and Co. Ever yrs., 

Fanny Woodgate. 

How shd. you hke a dimity Jacket for Betsy ?" 

The reference to Pygmalion seems to indicate a knowledge of the classics. 
The Miss Woodgates were devoted to gardening. Mrs. Humphry's daughters, 
in later years, were the greatest enthusiasts. 

In 1778 Ehzabeth Woodgate married Mr. Humphry, and the next letter from 
Mountfield is addressed to her on the question of servants. Servant difficulties 
were not unknown even in the " good old days," and amongst the family letters 
there are several which relate to the engaging of cooks and others, of which the 
following may serve as a specimen : — 

(«) " Chesterfield " appears to have been a nickname for the Rev. William Gordon, the Curate 

of Mountfield* 

We have been favoured by Mr. Wilson, the present Vicar of Mountfeild, with a list of Curates 
who served under Francis Woodgate at Mountfield. There was, of course, another Curate in 
Charge at Whatlington. 

Hugh Hodgson, B. A., 1760-1762. 

John Bishop, 1760. 

Robert Wilson, 1762-8 (went to Battle). 

Viscount Preston, 1768. 

Robert Foster, 1768-1772. 

William Gordon, 1772-6. (Went to Bexhill). 

A. Corrance, 1776. 

Montague Davis, 1777-9. 

Richard Rideont, 1782-3. 

Richard Constable, 1784-5 (afterwards Rector of Cowford, Sussex). 

Henry Bishop, 1785-91. 

In 1760 Hodson entered into the cure of the parish until 1762, when the Rev. Francie 
Woodgate re-entered. The Rev. William Hussey was afterwards Rector of Sandhurst; his sister 
Frances was mother of the Rev. Thomas Streatfeild. 

♦See Reference Sheet. 


" Mountfield, ye 5th Jany., '79. 
My dear Mrs, Humphry, 

We are very happy to hear you all continue well ; pray how did you escape 
in the late high Wind ? 'Twas very alarming here & I see it has done a great deal 
of damage in Town. In this neighbourhood it has blown up many Trees, unthatched 
Barns, &c., &c., which must be some time before they can be repaired. According 
to your desire I have Bargained with your Cook. She is to have four Guineas a year 
& half a Guinea for Tea, & you are to bear her expences up in the Carrier's 
Waggon the Tuesday after Lady day. 'Tis good Wages for so young a person, 
but she has been out in Service eight years at Ladytide. I hope she will do very 
weU, & her coming seems to be approved of by all parties. Fanny's has been 
a long Month ; her Sisters talk of coming home next Week, who will be great 
Strangers. They are exceedingly gay at Sen. Oaks with their Balls, &c., the poor 
old Marryed Lady hasn't been at one, shou'd suppose it was because She hadn't 
returned her formal visits ; dare say you'l be glad when they are over. Your 
Father continues well, but he had a long confinement with that nasty disorder (I 
will call it so) and you, my dear, are the only person I ever saw with it before ; 
imagine you haven't forgot it. I heard from Mrs. Acton last post when they were 
all well, they had heard of the Death of their Brother WiUiam [Acton] who went 
off ver}^ suddenly at the last ; he hasn't left any family, which is a satisfaction, & 
a very good kind of Man. Mr. Griffiths dined with us a Saturday & stayed with 
us till ]\Ionday, as hearty as ever I saw him ; he gave the Sacrement here a Sunday, 
& is really better than he has been for years. He told us Mr. Gorden was taken 
Prisoner coming from Russia (as he intended spending the Winter with his friends 
in England) by a French Privateer & carried into Dunkirk. Poor Man, he seems 
not to regard it much, but wishes to see Paris ; he wrote a very chearfull letter to 
Ld. North on the occasion. Mr. Nicoll hasn't been so well for a few days past as 
usual, he has call'd often on your Father during his confinement. Our little Party 
are all well and joyn in kind respects to Mr. Humphry, your Self, Brothers & 
Sisters, wishing you all health and many happy Years, be assured, my dear, I am 
at all times your Affectionate Mother, 

M. Woodgate. 

I am got in a dark corner which you may easily see." 

This letter is sealed with a large squirrel, the crest, and her previous letter was 
sealed with the coat of arms, on which the " chevron " is depicted " sable," instead 
of " azure " as it should be. 

The next letter congratulates Mrs. Humphry on the pleasing account received 
of her little son William, who was only eleven days old ; and mentions the Actons' 

My dear Mrs. Humphry, 

Mountfield, Octbr. ye 26, '79. 

. . . . Mr., Mrs. A. & C. left us yesterday morning, all well ; I never 
saw them look better. I do suppose Mr. A. just gave a call this Morn, at Sen. Oaks, 
& underwent Fan's examinations ; the particulars you may possibly have heard 
before you receive this. Mr. Hussey is vastly delighted with Aunt Fanny's 
likelynesses, wishes to see her of all things to chat about it. Sally & Nanny have 
had colds for several days, but Ann's is much worse to-day than it has been. She 
can't keep off the Bed, & is really very poorly. I hope she will be better to morrow ; 
they are pretty general, I think, at this time. Sally intends going to Tunbridge 
very soon but can't tell the day, not till her cold is better. Ann's breath is always 
so bad with a cold that she makes me uneasy. Mr. Wm. Bishop and his Lady 
dined with us last Thursday, & a Friday we dined with them at Court Lodge, 
with Mr. Spurgen & a Mr. Pritchard — a very pretty sort of a young Man, is now 

Curate at Battle. After Tea the Old Gentleman order'd Weston to strike up, a very- 
agreeable surprize to the young party ; they danced away four Couple several 
dances & were well pleased. Saturday Mr. Nicoll & Mr. & Mrs. John Bishop 
dined with us. All these good people made kind enquiries after you all and drank 
your healths every day & were very glad to hear the good news. Your Father 
is as well as usual, he joyns with us in kind love & respects to Mr. Humphry , 
yourself & the young Man. I am, my dear Mrs. Humphry, 

Your sincere friend and affectionate Mother, 

M. Woodgate. 

Sally has just been looking over my letter, & says you will think Ann is worse 
than she is, but I hope you won't be at all surprized as you have seen her just so 
many & many a time. Our love to all at 7: Oakes, tell them they are good 
dear girls for writing so often. Bless you all. It is just dark." 

This letter is succeeded by one two months later : — 

" Mountfield, ye 6th Decbr., '79. 

I am much obliged to my dear Mrs. Humphry for her kind letter, & 
was happy to hear you cou'd give so good an account of your self & nursery. I 
pityed you very much when I heard the dear child had been ill, as I well knew those 
were distressing times (tho 'tis common with young children). Henry just gave 
us a call yesterday on his way to Battle. We have had so much Rain, wind, and 
floods that I was afraid he wou'dn't be able to get over. We were down at Mr. 
Edgar's today ; he says his house has been for this week or more like a publick Inn, 
both Gentlemen and Ladies have stayed there for a night or two. Upon my word 
I think they ought to make him good amends. Poor Miss Durrant has been very 
dangerously ill for these two months, or more. We stopped there to day when Mrs. 
Dun-ant told us she had just got her up, but she wasn't able to go out of her room ; 
her complamt Doctr. Watts says is Convulsions, sometimes in such pain you may 
hear her a great way. Pray how do you escape Colds your way ? They are almost 
universal with us, of the same kind and generally very bad. Mr. Woodgate & 
I have hitherto been very fortunate in that respect. We were alarmed for poor 
Sally, tho we didn't hear of it till she was well as they told us ; we expect her home 
soon, I shall be glad to see her safe at Mountfield, tho her stay won't be long with 
us. I fancy Nanny will go .... to morrow or next day, & they talked 
of sleeping with us a night .... we shall hear to morrow how 'tis to be. 

Mr. Jenkin put me by finishing my letter ; he came in after Tea, as spruce as 
a Bachelour, to let us know there was an assembly going on at Rothersbridge for 
the benefit of Mr. Richard's children, ('tis supposed he has made off with the most 
he had got in the Mountebank (/) way) & so ask Ann to come to their Ball. 
What with Balls, Assemblys, Players, Officers, &c., sure Rothersbridge must be 
a gay place, but alas the main thing is wanting. Poor Guy's affairs are left very 
indifferently ; they blame his widow very much. His affairs are in a scrambling 
condition ; his Mother gave all she had to the Children, as she saw their Mother 
wou'd soon make off with it. Do you know that Mrs. Hollyway has got 
another son ? Mr. Nicoll has had a bad cold, he hasn't been here for some time. 
Mr. John is in Town. I shall run on with my nonsence till you will be tired out 
before you get to the end, so I shall conclude with our kind respects to Mr, 
Humphry & your Self, wishing your both your healths ; particular love to the 
sweet Boy who I beg you wou'd treat and kiss him twice for me as soon as you have 
read this, & then, my dear Mrs Humphry, you will greatly please 

Your sincere friend & affectionate Mother, 

M. Woodgate." 

(/) See page 48 when " Mountebank" is used for " Smuggler." 


Two weeks later she writes again, with further particulars of the floods and 
Henry's approaching marriage. 

" Mountfield, ye 20th Decbr., '79. 
My dear Mrs. Humphry, 

I thank you for your kind letter, the contents of which gave us infinite pleasure 
to hear you were all so well. I take the first opportunity of letting you know that 
your Father most readily complys with your request, in answering for the dear child, 
(indeed my dear 'twas rather remiss in me not to mention it as 'twas what I fully 
intended when I set down to write) . He desires you would dispose of Three guineas 
as you think proper, which he will repay by the return of Henry, who I suppose 
is detained in Town longer than he expected, on account of this Tryal, which may 
last several days. I hope this tempestuous Weather will be over before he comes 
this way ; I don't remember such continued floods, 'tis very disagreeable indeed, 
particularly when you expect any body. Your Aunt & Sally got through very 
safe tho the water came in the Carriage as it went up & twas a foot higher when 
they returned ; they kept their feet up & didn't get any Cold, both perfectly well 
after their journey. I never saw either of them look better, & as hlythe as can be, 
I do think they are glad they are this side of the Water. I am glad to hear you have 
bargained with Phillis ; I hope 5'ou will with Molly when the time comes ; as you 
seem to like one another, 'twill be a good thing on both sides. Pray did you ever 
hear of our Mr. Dalrymple having another wife ? Report says that he married a 
Scotch Woman some years ago by whom he had seven Children, but as they cou'dn't 
agree they parted by consent & he kept remitting her money yearly till of late, 
since he has been unsettled in his mind, when the remittance ceased. She and the 
Children came to England which has made great confusion I hear ; how shocking 
if true. Mrs. Harecourt was brought to Salehurst yesterday morning to be 
buried by her husband, in a very private manner. She sent for Mrs. Boys during 
her illness and they parted great friends. She left her fifty pound ; the Captain 
had two hundred & fifty or ;^3oo a year came to him by her death which she 
cou'dn't hinder him of. I had a letter from my Sister Everest lately, in which she 
desired her particular love to you & all the good wishes that can be, is very glad 
to hear you have got a little Boy. Poor woman, she is as bad as ever. . . 

Ann desires you would thank her sister for her letter & tell her she will write soon. 
I shall be very glad to see both the young Women safe at Mountfield. Mrs. 
& Miss Hammond was with us for two or three nights the week before last, when 
Mrs. H. intended then to go to Town with her Daughter for a few days ; I don't 
know but what it may be the best thing she can do, as parting with an only Child, & 
to be left quite alone just as they are marryed isn't quite agreeable. You know it 
would make some people put on their bonnets. One of your Sisters will go with them 
and return with the Old Lady. I can't conclude without giving you caution you don't 
get any cold at the Christening. Yesterday was our Tithe meeting & to day you know 
we have a great many people to wait upon, & just at dinner time we had some 
gentlemen came in to dine with us, that we have been quite full of Company. It 
keeps on raining & the flood is so high I can't tell how they get through the Water. 
Anne, your Father & Sisters are just set down to a Rubbar while I finish my letter ; 
they joyn in kind respects & best wishes with my dear Mrs. Humphry's 

affectionate Mother, 

M. Woodgate. 

I woudn't mention the affair of Mr. D. as there was a Gentleman here this day 
who heard it contradicted at Lewes, tho it has certainly been pubhckly talked of. 
I hope 'tisn't true. Love to your Brother & Sisters when you see them, particu- 
larly to the dear Boy ; tell him I wish to kiss him. I have been called off so many 
times I hardly know what I have wrote." 

The correspondence is carried on, in the next year, by Frances Woodgate, who 
thus addresses her sister : — 

" My dear Mrs. Humphry, 

My Mother sends thanks for your last ; we are sorry to hear your little man's 
court enamel is so defaced, but there are specks in the sun you know ; I hope he will 
soon recover his complexion, and give us the pleasure of his good company. We 
shall be extremely happy to see you at any time ; I shall quite grieve if my little sister 
doesn't come and eat some of our peas and strawherrys. We are very much concerned 
for Mrs. H. W's mishap but sincerely hope she continues in a good way. We wished 
much for a letter last night ; how very lucky Mrs. Hammond's not being come out 
of Town. I am quite ashamed to send this scrall, I meant that last line as an apology 
to Mr. H. for the writing. We expect Mr. Ashburnham to go to Hastings this week, 
but he won't stay here, as the little girl may have been in danger of the Small Pox. 
Bourne will be quite a gay place ; Lady Godfrey Webster and daughter have taken 
Lodgings there. The East Devon are now at Rothersbridge, Battle, &c., are to be 
encamped at Rye with the Cheshire & 6th Regiments. Mr. Pritchard buried 
Charlotte Grove (g) here on Saturday ; he and Mr. Constable are very good neigh- 
bours to us, both agreeable young men enough, but I have seen more so. The latter 
seems going on in a style. I hear he is to marry Miss Evett soon, he is certainly a 
genteel lively man, is gone with Mr. Goring to see the Grand Select this week. The 
Deans' Lady and Sister seem much approved off ; I hear they are pretty young 
women, good Horsewomen, & fond of dancing. We don't mean to honor them with 
a visit. Pritchard has taken Mr. Bishop's morning duty. I must tell you the 
Household establishment of Tom Fuller (of Watling) ; three Maids, a footman, & 
gardner, the house fitted up very elegantly, three Horses, a Whisky Sec, Sec, Sc Mrs. 
F. as fine as if she had brought him £30,000. What a little humble Peeress the 
Countess of Balcamp will be, am glad Bess is got out of her Mama's way. The 
Riots in Town are shocking surely. We dined at Court Lodge on Friday, the old 
man quite chearful ; he had two Devonshire Cousins with him, one a handsome 
young grazier with his hair combed so smooth that it shone again. Banquo has been 
down & a dreadful fracas ensued. The old man swore he wd. kick him out of the 
house, Banquo retorted that it was his own house, came here with his grievances, quite 
foaming at the mouth. He said the demand from the King was near £14,000 ; he 
shewed us Papers from the Exchequer ; they all seem rejoiced that his Majesty 
should have the money in preference to any of their own Friends. I am Joined by 
all in best wishes. Love, Compts., &c. Ever yours, my dear Betsy, 


I think Mr. H. quite in the right to be at the Cricketing. Our Boys are quite 
well ; Geo: desires I wd. say that he drinks yours & yr. little boy's healths every day, 
the child really has for a great while. Poor Mrs. Alderton was buried last week. Old 
Mrs. Simes died last Friday, Jenny has just been here ; she & her spouse well. 
I have sent her home sighing at these wicked Riots. The Johnsons all well. Pray 
give Master Billy a kiss for me." 

The Riots of course were the Gordon Riots of 1780, when the mob held London 
for a week, sacked many of the best houses in the Town, notably Lord Mansfield's, 
and were at length put down by the imprisonment of Lord George Gordon in the 
Tower. "Banquo" must have been one of the Nicolls ; and Geo: was George 
Ashburnham, who with his brother made long visits at Mountfield, which, indeed, 
was one of their homes. 

The next letter is addressed in 1781 to Anne at John Acton's, Swithin's Lane, 

{g) Charlotte Grove was buried at Mountfield on 8th June, 1780, which fixes the date of the letter. 


" My good friend, 

I direct for you in Town as I imagine it will find you out ; suppose you will 
receive this at Clapham, where I hope it will find our Friends all well. Mrs. 
Hammond, we heard from our Fair Ladies, went to Town yesterday. Rose desires 
you would thank Mrs. A. for her Sunday's Favor, we are very sorry she can give no 
better account of her Invalids. I still think if they were here they would soon get 
better. My partiality may be great I allow ; every gale that blows is 
odouriferous, spelt wrong, I presume it is the same with you. I am as brown as a 
mulloiio grubbing about, but gardening begins to be too much for my aged Limbs. 
Our Neighbours bell rings so hard for dinner that it worries my Senses. Sam & 
his spouse are now there ; her Mother returned on Friday & took poor Banquo 
with her, as Bag Cheeks wont condescend to meet him. We think Mrs. NicoU very 
agreeable but I must own high enough for a Peeress ; she took particular care to say 
she kept two maids to attend on her. Sam is quite affronted that you did not return 

with them that day, (the Miss W s may say what they please, but it was a firm 

engagement, I never was so explicit in making one before, says Sam). She desires 
her Love and intends calhng on you this week. They go to morrow ; fancy she sees 
things with different eyes than when she was Miss Sally, the old man's senses 
repaired & spirits quite gone, her former companions not at home, & herself 
Married. We don't much admire her Mama ; don't you think her palavering manner 
& howsevers (exactly like Mrs. Willard, & her mouth so much the counterpart of my 
old Cousin Weatherall) that I think her a some what disgustful miss ; she talks so 
much of her own Friends that I am sure they have interred the Family Trumpeter. 
One whole mornings conversation amounted to this, that the blood of the Serankes 
(her Friends) had flowed in a clear pure Channel (at Hatfield) with their Beet for 300 

years. You are a very great favorite of Mrs. N 's, she will tell you what 

encomiums your Battle Beau passed on you at Court Lodge. Fancy they will 
not come down any more this year. I do think the departure of Miss Hammond 
& yr. Ladyships have cast a gloom over our Neighbourhood, not one joyous meeting 
at Battle this winter, the Balls given up for ever. Miss Bishop hangs her lip to see 
dear Miss Nancy, Pritchard sighs & grows fat, your poor little Salehurst Swain I hear 
is worn to a thread, & Will's eyes have never sparkled since our return. I believe it 
may be happy for me that they have not, as I am sure my pride will now keep me from 
ever falling a Martyr to their Brilliancy. He is going into Suffolk for three weeks. 
Pritchard & Constable are to officiate. Mr. Bishop's girl and boy are arrived, 
shd. think poor Jack's head must be bad, shut up with those obstreperous brats. 
Molly Sellers is now down ; her parents have contrived successive Junkettings for her, 
am afraid they, poor souls, will be laid up by endeavouring to entertain her. . . . 
I am joined by all in duty, Love, Compts., &c., to every body ; write soon, Ann, & 
I am ever thine 


Our best Compts. to Mrs. Hammond ; the boys desire dutiful remembrances, & 
George desires his love to all Aunt Nanny's little boys & all her little girls, adieu. 

Tuesday afternoon : hope to hear that Miss A. & Johnny are better, sure they 
might come here. What a valorous knight errant for a Pigmy is Sir J. E. ; he must 
have a Dulcinea. Jack Fermor desired his particular love to us by will on Saturday. 
R. & I expect a proffer." 

The next letter is to Mrs. Humphry, and from its contents must have been 
written about 1784. 

" Mountfield, Tuesday Afternoon. 

Nine acres of grass down and nine more to cut ! This is Mr. Hussey's account 
of your Spouse's present amusements ; why my dear Friends, we shall not have the 
pleasure of seeing you till Christmas, I verily think. However, I sincerely wish 
your Hony good weather, & that it may soon be all happily over. My Mother has 


got a most troublesome cough ; she was blood'd this morn, & Mr. Durrant thinks 
he shall with the Assistance of Spermacitis draughts soon remove it ; she has not 
been quite free from one for some months, but I hope he will be as good as his word. 
My two neices are sitting by me, & by their Loquacity draw off my Ideas which 
would otherwise be very sublime ; I have imposed silence on Alicia which she resents 
much, & set Ann to work. After so much precaution you will expect something 
brilliant, he not deceived. And so you would not honor his Grace's Festival ? I 
feel myself some what mortified at your nonattendance, being convinced that you 
would have learned some of Vesiri's capers from the Nobility, by which I might have 
been benefited ; but seriously, I think it was odd your not going. We heard from 
Ann by Sunday ; am rejoiced Mrs. H. W. and her young Francis are so remarkably 
well. We were at Mr. W. Bishop's last week. Miss Thorns spends the summer at 
Sedlescomb. I verily think she will leave Ann at least a legacy. Mr. Pritchard 
was sent for express to Hampstead, his Lady being there & extremely ill. Our 
Garden is a wilderness of sweets, I never saw it handsomer. Our Esqr. is altogether 
Invisible, spends all his time at Darvel, {h) in his Boat. I walk'd with him very 
soberly from Church on Sunday, altho' it rain'd hard. I look upon him as my Dernier 
Resort, though I shall not be too pointed in my addresses till I see if Government 
leaves any thing ToUerable. Does Doctr. Cornwallis take the Bishoprick ? ^I saw 
Mr. Home (of Aulburn) just by Maidstone lately who assured me that his l:^riends 
did not wish him to it as he is to resign the Dean'ry & Wrotham. I wish'd Mr, 
Home to fancy me as he is a most agreeable widower, with a good House & good 
fortune ; does Mr. Humphry know him ? I should have written to you before, but 
hoped to have had a personal Interview e're this. I hope Willy has the same Family 
partiality that he Inherited last year. Mr. Hewlett has sent my Father a Book ; it 
is his last publication (an answer to Doctr. Price). Missy sings & whistles & . . . 
notwithstanding my Prohibition to the contrary. I wish you could see her. I 
hear the Military at Rye behave extremely .... Ann seems to grieve at the 
melancholy Idea of Mrs. Hammans leaving England ; their Farewell I suppose was 
very affecting. I am joined by all in Love and best Respects to yourself & Mr. 
Humphry (whom I meant to have mention'd first) not forgetting Mr. Curteis's 
young Curate, ever thine with the most sisterly Fidelity, 

F. Woodgate. 

How provoking it is that Willy is not old enough to assist Mr. C at this critical 
juncture. Mr. NicoU is just come to Tea, something new, as he never drank any. 
I am sure of him now." 

Mr. C. was probably Mr. Curteis of Sevenoaks, and the " Esqr." Mr. Nicoll of 
Court Lodge Reference is made to Mrs. Woodgate's continued ill-health, and it is 
probable that the letter was written not long before her death, which occurred on 
the I2th Jan., 1785, in the seventy-second year of her age. The circumstances are 
mentioned in a letter, fortunately preserved, from her son Henry to Mr. Humphry. 

" Riverhill, Thursday Evening. 
My dear Friend, 

It is with the deepest affliction I inform you that my Dear Mother is no more ; 
at the fatal Hour of Two yesterday in the afternoon we were deprived of our ever 
honoured & much beloved Parent. She was quite sensible to the last & died 
perfectly composed. My Father endeavours to support himself as well as He can, 
calls forth all his Fortitude & Philosophy, & is really better than you cd. expect ; 
my Sisters also are as well as you can suppose and exert themselves in composing my 
Father & alleviating their general distress. I did not get Home till near Seven this 
Evening or shod, have sent to night — shall now order Thomas to carry this early in 
the Morning & to give it Jack before Mrs. Humphry is stirring. I am grieved to 

(h) In a valley in Darvell Wood, about three miles from Court Lodge, there used to be a furnace 

where iron ore was smelted. There was a large pond there, now drained. (Note supplied by 
the Revd. C. W. G. Wilson, Vicar of Moimtfield), 


hear she is not well & am persuaded you'll use every precaution in disclosing this 
melancholy event. I should be very glad if you cd. call here in the Morning but I 
don't know that it is fair to ask you to come. My spirits are too much broken to be 
a comforter at present, but nevertheless I will come over to you to morrow if you 
can't make it convenient to call here. Excuse haste as I want very much to get to 
rest. Beheve me, yr. sincere tho' much afflicted 

Our kind love to Mrs. H. yourself & little Folks." 

The same year Frances Woodgate was married to the Rev. Richard Rideout, 
and the correspondence is taken up in 1787 by Alicia Ashburnham, then about ten 
years old. She was one of the " two neices " and lived at Mountfield with her 
grandfather and aunts. The letter is in a good, though childish hand, between ruled 
pencil lines, and is addressed to Wilham Ashburnham junr., Esqr., Edward Street, 
Portman Square. 
" My dear Brother, 

I thank you for the favor of your kind letter which it gave me great pleasure to 
receive. I have the satisfaction to inform you that my Aunt Anne is rather better 
than when I wrote last, tho she has been but very poorly all the Winter. We 
expect my Uncle and Aunt Humphry next week. Willy is to be of the party, whom 
I have not seen for two years. My Uncle Harry intended to have made us a visit 
this week but was prevented coming. The weather has been so mild this winter 
that the Garden looks quite gay with snowdrops and all sorts of Spring flowers. My 
Aunt Anne has saved all her Geraniums and they grow and look beautiful. Mrs. 
Murrey and Mrs. Ferris have each of them another little girl, and poor Mrs. Bishop a 
little Boy, but it did not live. Mr. and Mrs. NicoU have been above a month at Court 
Lodge, but Sam they have left in Hertfordshire ; she often takes us out for a drive. 
I have been several times to Battle. Lady Webster has been very dangerously ill 
but is now much better ; it was reported that Sir Godfrey had taken General Murrey's 
House at Ore. My Aunt Sally intends being in Town this Month to be present at 
Miss Acton's wedding, which is to take place some time in the spring. My Aunts and 
I are in the Lottery ; I depended on haveing part of the twenty thousand, but am 
sorry to find they are both drawn. My grandpapa and my Aunts desire their kind 
Respects to my Papa, with my Duty and Love to yourself and Brothers, 

from your affectionate Sister, 
Mountfield, March 3rd. Alicia Ashburnham." 

Ann Woodgate has added a postcript in her own hand, containing a charade 
"made by the celebrated Miss Streatfield " ; she expresses her opinion that it is 
exceedingly good, but it is too long for insertion here. She writes the same year to 
her sister, staying at Seal. 

" Friday, August 3rd, 1787. 
My dear Sally, 

Your letter on Sunday gave us great pleasure, for which my Sister is much 
obliged ; she will with pleasure answer for little Fanny, is much delighted to hear 
that her God Daughter is such a promising maiden, desires you would leave Mrs. 
Humphry Two Guineas to be disposed of as she thinks proper, and also twelve shillings 
as her prize in the Lottery ; and pray tell her also that I shall be at her service, not for 
the next for that will" be a Boy, but for her httle Daughter Anne / certainly 
shall be responsible. I have been but indifferently well this last week ; have tried 
Mrs. Walter's receipt and really think it alleviates as it makes me expectorate when 
my breath is poorly. I am sure Willy would laugh to see me trudge round the 
Garden with my Pipe ; my Father tells me I shall soon be a proficient in smoaking. 
Pray don't forget to thank Mrs. Walter for her attention. The Hardys are coming 
to Court Lodge, but not quite so large a party as last year, as the three youngest 
Children are left in Town ; Mrs. NicoU I fancy has dropped her scheme for the present. 


Mr. Hodson called on us on Monday ; he is settling Mrs. Atterbury's farm for the 
Miss Hays. He told us that Mr. Ashburnham, William and John were at Westmeston ; 
we heard from Mr. Rideout lately when he told us he should be with us on 
Tuesday, and I think it not unlikely but that Mr. A. &c. may come with him. We 
dined at Mr. Russel's (by invitation) last week, Mr. and Mrs. Bishop, &c. there, but 
they were disappointed of four Beaus. Poor Jack Durrant died on Tuesday, he has 
been in a deplorable way for some time. Do you ever remember such a July ? Mr. 
Humphry was lucky in his Hay ; such heavy rains I hardly ever saw but the element 
seems cleai* at present. Alicia is sadly afraid you will not come home while your 
charming bed of migionett is in its prosperity. I hear there is a great deal of Company 
at the Wells — the Dutchess of Rutland, Beaufort, and Ancaster, Duke of Leeds, 
Lord North, &c. ; the Walks were Illuminated for the Princess of Lamballe ; she is to 
be at the Races, which are expected to be very full. Mr. H. Bishop was much dis- 
appointed that he did not see you at my Aunt's, we were very glad to hear by him 
that Mrs. Woodgate was so much better. 

Adieu, my good friend, 

from your ever affectionate 

Anne Woodgate. 

I am joined in kind Love and Respects to Mr. and Mrs. Humphry, yourself and 
all our little kindred. Alicia longs to nurse Fanny and to salute Betsy. George I 
know has kisses enough for you. I desire you would give Willy a shilling to make a 
playment on my Birthday. Pray remember us to our friends at Riverhill, and 
Brother S. Fanny Bishop has got a little Poney and intends being an expert Horse 
woman. Fanny Russel is a sprightly httle girl, like her Mother, & the Boy they think 
a good deal like the late Dean. Backy seems to manage her children & Household 
with great propriety ; she made kind enquiries after you and Mr. H." 

This is almost the last of the Mountfield letters ; for three years later Mr. Wood- 
gate's health began to break up. He had attained a ripe old age, and took duty 
almost to the last. In 1788 he signs the register in a firm, clear hand, which shows 
the amount of vigour he retained. The last wedding at which he officiated was in 
1786, though he took duty till much later. He died in 1790, and was buried at 
Tonbridge. The monument, on the north wall of the chancel, bore this inscription : — 

" Beneath the rails of the altar, in the silent chambers of the dead, sleep the 
remains of Francis Woodgate M.A. with those of the loved partner of his happiness 
and his wishes, Mary Woodgate. During half a century he conscientiously dis- 
charged the pastoral office as Rector of Watlington and Vicar of Mountfield in the 
County of Sussex. Pious, humble, charitable, he early aspired to and obtained and 
uniformly preserved the truly honourable character of an exemplary parish priest. 
In domestic and private life the purity of his principles and the benignity of his 
nature led him to fulfil every duty ; ever strict to himself, but to others amiable, 

Not less laudable in her sphere, his faithful associate exhibited a model of 
conjugal and maternal virtue. Blest and blessing in the calm tranquillity of a long 
and honoured life, they closed their eyes in the Christian faith and hope, universally 
regretted ; he on the loth November, 1790, at the age of 84, his wife having departed 
the I2th January, 1785, aged 71." ■ — 

By will dated 4th June, 1789 the Rev. Francis Woodgate, gave to his three 
unmarried daughters Rose, Sarah, and Ann Woodgate, all his household goods, 
linen, plate, hve and dead stock of all sorts at Mountfield and all books of which his 
son William had duplicates ; also his four-wheeled carriage and pair of grey horses ; 
also the house in Tonbridge Town occupied by the Miss Jordans ; the Moat Farm and 
Manor of Cosins, in Cowden, Kent, and Hartfield, Sussex, occupied by George 
Kidder ; and ;^i,ooo each in cash. Sister Ann Woodgate 5 guineas. Daughter 


Elizabeth Humphry, 50a. of land called Mowsers in Edenbridge, occupied by Holm- 
den ; Skeen Hill, Sevenoaks, occupied by the Duke of Dorset, and ^^500, Son 
Henrys house and lands called Isele Dale in Sevenoaks, Leigh and Chidingstone, 
occupied by Richard Saunders ; and Howgreen, in Heaver and Brasted, occupied 
by John Humphry, subject to ;^300 to grandchildren William, John, Denny, George, 
and Alicia Ashburnham at 21. Granddaughter Ahcia Ashburnham, ;£5oo. Robert 
SeUous of Mountfield, labourer, £10. To each of the servants, 2 guineas. Son 
Stephen, Chested and Seedrups in Chid: and Penshurst, occupied by Page ; house 
and garden in Penshurst (divided in two and let to labouring men) ; cottage in 
Chid: occupied by Hollomby ; farm called Gildredge in Chid: occupied by Richard 
Delves ; farm called Frinden in Chid: and two pieces of land there called Sibords 
Meads ; ' ' the plain of lands " and woodlands purchased by him of . . . 
Thorpe Esq. in Chid:, also the farm called Tophill in Chid: occupied by the widow 
of John Streatfeild Gent, subject to £1,000 to grandson John Acton, and to erecting 
a monument in Chid: church to his (testator's) uncle Stephen Woodgate, Gent. 
Executor to erect monument to Francis' father and mother in the parish church of 
Chid: Kinsman Robert Durrant Esq., trustee. Son William to have remainder of 
books, and all other real and personal estate, and to be sole executor. Witnesses : 
Mary Bishop, James J. Bishop, Richard Hides. 
Proved at London 3 Dec, 1790. 

On 13th Nov. Mrs. Humphry wTites : — 
" My dear Sisters, 

I cannot sufficiently condole with you on the late loss we have sustained in the 
best of Fathers, but it must be entirely on our own account as we have every reason 
to be satisfied that he is a great gainer by the exchange. Bro. S. informed Mr. 
Humphry this morning of the particulars of his will, & I think he has shewn the 
greatest kindness to us all in this last act of his life. I am sure we shall be sensible 
of his goodness as long as we live. I am rejoiced for you all, and I am sure you feel 
the same grateful sentiments that I do. I am very glad that Brother S. has reason 
to be so well satisfied. 

. . . If a change of scene would be agreable to any of you, I am sure we 
should be rejoiced if you would come to us. I hope my Dr. Anne has not particu- 
larly suffered in yr. late scene of distress. Mr. Humphry unites with me in kindest 
love and most sincere condolence to you aU. I remain, my dear Sisters, your most 
affectionate and sincere in affliction 
Saturday, November ye 13th. Elizabeth Humphry." 



Mary Woodgate the eldest daughter of the Revd. Francis Woodgate, b. 1637, 
married John Acton of the Inner Temple, London. We are fortunate in having the 
whole series of letters which led up to this event. They were indorsed by 
Mr. Woodgate and marked " A's ist Lr." " A's 2 Lr." and so on. The first is 
dated 1764, and is as follows : — 
" Revd. Sir, 

You will possibly be surprized, yet, I flatter myself, not offended at the liberty 
of this address from an entire stranger, the subject of it being of some moment to 
you, and of very near concern to your daughter and myself. I should not have 
presumed however to give this trouble without first receiving permission from Miss 
Woodgate, whose many amiable Qualities, attracting my attention in a casual inter- 
view at my friend Mr. Davenport's, & being afterwards confirmed to me by Mrs. 
Davenport's account of that valuable Lady, determined me in an endeavour to gain 
some Interest in her Heart. The Success, by means of the favourable Representa- 
tion which those friends made of me to Miss Woodgate, & an opportunity which 
they have been kind enough to give me in a late visit of a few days to Tunbridge of 
sounding her Inclinations, has far exceeded my most sanguine hopes ; happy, too 
happy, shou'd they be crowned with the approbation of her Father, which I now beg 
leave to request. You will naturally ask what are my pretensions. They are by 
no means so large as I could wish, and much inferior to the Lady's deserts, tho' in a 
very improveable state : such as they are, my Education, profession, present state 
of Income, and the reasons upon which I ground my expectation of advancement, 
permit me now to lay before you ; in doing which assure yourself, Sir, I shall observe 
the strictest truth and candour. 

I am by Profession an Attorney. The early part of my Instruction I received 
from my Uncle Mr. Chesworth, a Gentleman of known Character in his profession 
here ; the remainder upon his decease with Mr. Cocks, his Partner, with whom I 
continued for three years and upwards after the expiration of my Clerkship, and had 
the whole Conduct of his Business, which was very considerable. Last Year, much 
against Mr. Cocks's inclinations, I left him, on a more advantageous prospect opening to 
my view, but upon the strongest Terms of Friendship and assurances from him of pro- 
moting my Interest. My principal Employ is that of Deputy Clerk of the Errors in 
the Court of King's Bench, under Mr. Way, an office of very great Trust, and from 
which accrues to me a Moiety, with him, of a very profitable business, exclusive of 
my own separate concerns, amounting in the whole to more than a clear ;^200 per 
annum, to say nothing of very reasonable prospects, I might almost say a certainty, 
of much Improving my situation in a very short space of time. My Character, I 
doubt not, stands universally fair and unimpeached ; my Behaviour has been such as 
to procure me the Esteem of all my Friends, and wiU, I hope, stand the Test of any 
Enquiry you may Honour me by asking ; my Industry in business must in some 
measure appear to you from the Account above stated, considering I am not yet six 
and twenty years of age. In a word, upon the above circumstances, I lay my most 
material stress, my private Fortune, of which I come next to speak, being com- 
paratively inconsiderable. It consists of a Freehold Estate in Cheshire, my native 
Soil, which however being Intailed on my Issue, and not capable therefore at present 
of coming into Settlement, is not worth mentioning : there is also a Leasehold Estate, 


but of small Value, and both together not much exceeding £40 per annum. Besides 
these, I am also Intitled to some contingent Interests under my Father's will, and 
otherwise, but these being dependant on Deaths cannot be brought into the present 
account. My Personal Fortune is not a great deal more than is sufficient to carry 
on my Business which in our way requires Money being continually laid out. For 
the truth of what I have above asserted, I shall beg leave to refer you to Mr. 
Cocks and Mr. Way, whose addresses are, Joseph Cocks, Esqr., at Castledich, near 
Ledbury, Herefordshire (where he is during the Vacation but his House here is in 
Lincolns Inn Fields) and John Way Esq., Ormond Street or Lincolns Inn, London ; 
I mention these two Gentlemen in particular as being best acquainted with me and 
my affairs ; and Persons of Character Probity and Fortune. 

AU I shall now add. Sir, is, that if my present Circumstances and the General 
account I have given of myself (which are rather Diminished than exaggerated) 
meet with your approbation, and make me appear in any degree worthy of the 
Blessing I demand, you may securely rely on my constant Endeavour, if I know 
myself at all, to merit the Esteem and Friendship of your Family, and to make the 
young Lady as happy as possible. In this case I shall hope to be allowed the Liberty 
of waiting on you at Mountfield, to talk more at large upon this Subject. The 
favour of a Line in Answer will be an additional Honour conferred on. Sir, Your most 
devoted & obt. hble. Servt., 

Jno. Acton, 

Inner Temple, Sepbr. 15th, 1764. 

P.S. — Upon looking over this, I shou'd be inclined to think an apology necessary 
for its length, if that would not still add to it." 

To this account we can only add that John Acton, of Lincolns Inn Fields, was 
sworn and enrolled an Attorney of the King's Bench on 29th June, 1762. The 
reply was favourable to Mr. Acton's interest, and evoked the second letter a week 

" Revd. Sir. 

I reced. the favour of yours, and am much obliged to you for the good opinion 
you seem at present to Entertain of me, which I flatter myself you will have no reason 
to retract. I am so far from thinking your proposed Enquiries in any degree 
unreasonable, that on the contrary I entirely approve of them, and commend your 
prudent Circumspection in so doing, as I would by no means wish or be thought to 
Impose on you in an affair of so much importance to all parties. 

Your observation. Sir, with respect to making a Settlement, is very right, as 
the Intail of my estate cannot at present be Barred. I thought I had expressed 
myself fully enough in my last to be understood, that I am in possession of it myself, 
& have been so from my Uncle's death, under whose will I am Intitled to it . . . 
If you please to enquire of Mr. Cholmondeley, one of the Members for Cheshire, who 
has always honour'd my Father and me with his Friendship and acquaintance, and 
who is now at Vale Royal in Cheshire, I flatter myself he will give ample satisfaction 
on this Head. Mr. Davenport, who knows as much of me as any body, will, I dare 
say, give you a candid and impartial account of me, if you please to apply to him. 

As I have been very explicit in my own affairs, if I shall be so happy in other 
respects to meet with your approbation, I hope you'l excuse my enquiring in return 
what the Lady's Fortune wiU be, and what will be expected from me in consequence 
of it ; my motive for which is, that I may consider in what manner I can do the most 
justice to her, and to the satisfaction of yourself and Family. 

I am, Sir, your most obt. hble. Servt., 

John Acton, 
Inner Temple, Sept. 22nd, 1764." 


He supplies further particulars of his estate, which had a considerable quantity 
of timber on it. His Father, who survived his Uncle, lived on his own property in 
Cheshire and left the bulk of it to his younger children (three sons and a daughter, 
all minors) to the exclusion of John Acton, whom he considered to be partly provided 
for by his Uncle. The enquiries confirmed all that he had said in his own favour, 
and his application was granted, as we learn from his grateful acknowledgment : — 
" Revd. Sir, 

I yesterday reced. the favour of yours, and shall ever retain the most grateful 
sense of the honour you have conferred on me. I shall with great pleasure wait upon 
you on Friday next (my avocation & Engagements here not permitting me to do it 
sooner) & as I cannot now possibly be absent longer than Monday, shaD beg leave to 
stay with you till Sunday Morning, and then take Tunbridge in my return to London. 

Please to make my due respects to all your Family, and as I hope soon to have 
the pleasure of settling this Affair with you in Person, it is unnecessary now to add 
more than that I am with the greatest truth. 

Your most obt. hble. Servt., 

Jno. Acton. 
Inner Temple, 9th Octr., 1764." 
" Revd. Sir, 

I return you my most sincere thanks for the favours I received from you at 
Mountfield ; it was with great regret I was obliged to leave you so soon but the 
necessity was unavoidable. I got well to Tunbridge that Night & the next day 
arrived well here after a pleasant ride. I acquainted your sisters with my success, 
and do assure you if anything cou'd possibly add to my happiness it is meeting also 
with their approbation, which they were so good to give me. I have the greatest 
reason to be satisfied with the choice I have been so fortunate to make, and I every 
Hour make discoveries which give me the strongest assurances of great Happiness ; 
my Gratitude is infinite, and I hope I shall be able to give you reason to return my 
friends your thanks as well as mine for their recommendations. I did not particu- 
larly acquaint Miss Woodgate either with her own Fortune or what I had agreed to 
add to it, thinking it would come more proper from you. At present I have my 
hands too full of other matters to look out for a situation for me, but have employed 
an able emissary or two. I intend it to be small and convenient, as we can easily 
remedy any inconvenience in that respect when occasion requires, but as you will 
easily conceive, an affair of this nature, and to be transacted at so great a distance, 
will unavoidably interfere with my other business. I hope I shall not be thought 
too precipitate if I press for a completion of my happiness towards Christmas ; I 
firmly rely on Miss Woodgate's own good sense and discretion not to Impute any 
want of affection to her on account of my little absences, which as a publick officer 
and othen\-ise will not be in my power to prevent in a very short time, and this I 
hope win be an argument for granting my request. 

I expect Mr. Cholmondeley in a few days here, when I shall get some Covers (a) 
and send you what I promised for your Perusal. I propose, if no unforeseen accident 
happens to prevent me, being at Tunbridge on Saturday Se'night, where I shall be 
glad to receive any commands from you, as I shall scarce be able to reach Mountfield, 
being obliged to return on Monday following. Please to give my due respects to 
Mrs. Woodgate and aU your Family ; hoping to be favoured with soon hearing from 
you, I remain with the greatest Esteem, Sir, your most faithfull hble. Servt., 

Jno. Acton, 
Inner Temple, i8th Octr., 1764. 

P.S. — Mrs. Davenport is come to Town to-day, they particularly desired their 
Compliments on my telling them I was going to write to you." 

(o) The " covers," of course, were much sought after in the days before penny postage was 

introduced. The transmission of letters was exceedingly expensive ; but Members of Parliament 
were entitled to "frank" letters by signing the cover or outside (envelopes not having been 
invented at that time). 


The next letter was enclosed with the draft marriage articles, by which the 
settled funds were to be limited to Mr and Mrs. Acton for their lives and afterwards 
to their children equally at twenty-one. He proceeds : — 

' ' I returned from Tunbridge on Monday morning last as I mentioned to you, 
but when I shall be able to go there again I can't say, having now both my hands 
full. It would give me great satisfaction if Miss Woodgate was a little nearer me 
during the Term, but being afraid that is impracticable must submit, tho' Mrs. 
Davenport was so obliging to invite her to come & be with her some time, & I verily 
beheve would be extremely glad of her Company. It gives me singular pleasure to 
reflect that two such amiable friends with Hearts and Minds so united will soon be 
so near together. I have not yet been able to hear of a House that will suit me ; its 
amazing the vast increase of Rent & demand for Houses at this part of the Town as 
there's not now one to be let any where hereabouts, but I hope to get one by & by, 
tin when must wait with patience. As soon as the Sittings are over I shall with 
great pleasure wait upon you at Mountfield, which wiU be next Month. I consider 
myself under great obligations to Miss Woodgate for so kindly excusing me from 
attending on her so often as the sincerity of my professions make me wish for, as well 
as on all other accounts ; in due time I hope to make her amends for all. I had the 
pleasure of hearing from her to-day. In my last Excursion to Tunbridge I was much 
pleased with Mr. William Woodgate, who I look upon to be a very sensible deserving 
young Gentleman, & who will in time be an ornament to his Family, shall esteem myself 
happy in his acquaintance & good wishes. We have no news stirring here, except 
some flying Reports about changes in the Law & in some other Departments, I 
believe all equally void of foundation. 

I was in great expectation of being favoured with hearing from you before this 
time, but hope I now shall as soon as convenient. Please to give my best respects 
to Mrs. Woodgate & all your Family, & I am with the greatest Esteem, Sir, 

Your most faithfull hble. Servt., 

Jno. Acton. 
Inner Temple, Novr. 3rd, 1764." 

The next letter which has survived, the ninth (three intermediate letters having 
been lost) contains fuller particulars of the house which was fixed upon : — 
" Dr. Sir, 

I return you my most sincere thanks for the favours reced. from j^ou during my 
stay at Mountfield, shall ever esteem myself happy in testifying the deep sense I have 
of them. We got to Tunbridge on Thursday by 12 o'clock ; from thence I set out 
before one, & arrived here very well about half-past five, without being accosted by 
any collector [high waj' man] & in very good time. 

This morning Mr, Davenport & I have agreed for the House in Shire Lane, 
before in view, with which I hope Miss Woodgate will be perfectly satisfied. He 
seems to like it pritty well, tho' I think some parts of it rather dark, otherwise the 
first & second Floor are not amiss ; if the Conveniencys below Stairs were rather 
better I should be glad. I've taken it on a 21 years Lease at £30 per ann., paying 
£150 Consideration — For this I'm to have it compleatly ready to go into to my 
satisfaction ; it is now all ready but Papering & some few things which were let alone 
for the Tenant to chuse & suit himself in. Upon the whole, I believe the Bargain 
will not be very disadvantageous, as the man has been offered several times £46 per 
ann. but wanting money immediately I got it cheaper on that account. It is to be 
Papered &c. to my Patern & liking, & ready to go into in the course of next month 
if I please, which may very well be done provided it is thought to be then aired 
enough. This being now reduced to a certainty by the signing of the agreement, 
permit me to renew my application for an early Day ; you are I'm sure very sensible 
of the Great Inconvenience as well as Expence attending these Journeys in time of 
Business, besides the near approach of Parliament sitting & the Term, when I shall 


be much engaged. I propose taking a Ride to Tunbridge on Friday next, before 
which beg the favour of a Line from you, as I hope then to fix the time & settle every 
thing previous to coming to Mountfield. 

Upon talking to Miss Woodgate she seems to disapprove of any articles being 
made ; to which I can only add I am ready and willing to Execute them if you please, 
but if not you may securely rely on my word that whenever it please God to have 
occasion to carry them into Execution, I shall consider myself equally bound & 
immediately settle it to her satisfaction & yours. 

I had a very kind invitation on Thursday, at Bromley, by your Friends at 
Plaistow, shall do myself the pleasure of going there the first opportunity. 

For the above Reasons among various others, I shall hope the week after next 
will compleat my Happiness ; we shall then very soon have the House ready, which 
I shall choose she should oversee. Our Friends in Norfolk Street desire to be 
Remembered & with all due respects to your Family, Believe me to be. Dr. Sir, 

Your most faithfuU hble. Servt., 

Jno. Acton. 
Inner Temple, 29th Deer., 1764." 

Shire Lane had the very great advantage of being near the numerous Courts 
scattered about the neighbourhood of Chancery Lane. It is now demolished and the 
Royal Courts of Justice occupy the site. It connected Carey Street with the Strand 
and Lincolns Inn with the Temple. In one of the houses the famous Kit Kat Club 
met, and Addison and Steele produced many of the Spectators and Tatlers. Latterly 
it depreciated in reputation, but many men of eminence have lived there, including 
at that time Hook. Rents in the eighteenth century were lower than in these days. 

In less than a month the couple were married at Mountfield, by licence, the 
24th Jan., 1765 ; the registers were signed by Wm. Woodgate and Jenny de Passow. 

Three years elapsed between the last letter and the next one that remains, 
which is marked the twenty-second. Mrs. Acton's brother, Henry Woodgate, was 
reading Law with a view to becoming a barrister, and lived for the time being with 
the Actons ; her brother Stephen, too, subsequently passed some of his time with 
them whilst articled in town. The letter is as follows : — 
" Dear Sir, 

We were made very happy yesterday, to hear by my friend Harry of the health 
of our friends at Mountfield. I returned from my Cheshire Expedition yesterday 
morning before ten, the badness of the Roads preventing my reaching further than 
St. Albans the night before ; I never saw anything equal to them, being by the 
continual wet weather cut to pieces. I was happy to find Mrs. Acton pretty well, 
as I was very anxious on her account, & her then state made me leave her with much 
regret ; but as I could not have gone this year unless at that time, & being advised 
there was no danger, with due care, made me venture — thank God she's now so 
much mended as to be able to walk a little with assistance, & hopes to have no more 
pull backs. My dear little Boy continues quite hearty & thrives daily. Give me 
leave here to return you my sincere thanks for your kind offer in answering for my 
name sake, which we accept with the greatest gratitude ; the Ceremony is proposed 
to be on Friday, when nothing could more contribute to our mutual happiness than 
the honour of your personal answer, & with Mrs. Woodgate making part of the JoyfuU 
Company — indeed, we have long hoped for the favour of a visit here ; & still keep in 
memory your kind promise of it. 

< 41 found my Cheshire friends all well, but they were obliged to accept Doctors' 
Visits, as business was the object of my Journey ; I had however the satisfaction of 
compleating all our affairs as far as they could be, & preserving amity between all 
parties, which most abundantly paid me for my trouble, I brought up my little Sister 
with me, as my Dear Mrs. Acton was so good to desire to give her instruction ; poor 


thing, she sensibly feels the loss of a good Mother now, tho' then of small concern to 
her, being very young. I hope she will in goodness endeavour to repay in some 
measure the infinite obligations she'l be under to her, & be studious to follow the 
pattern sett before her. My Gratitude for so good an Act to a poor helpless Orphan 
is unbounded. 

At Chester I called on Mr. Mainwaring, saw them all well, & particularly desired 
their best respects to yourself & Family, importuned me much to stay Dinner, but 
my time would'nt permit — they propose seeing Sussex next year. At Litchfield 

enquired after the C 1 Family, find a Sale of his Effects was Cryed there last 

Thursday ; the young Man is now there, but who he married no person could learn 
further than that she used frequently to travel between London & Liverpool in the 
Machine, always dressed well &c. but whether one farthing Fortune or ;^io,ooo 
remains a secret — it seems he owes much money there & very little dividend expected. 

I hear no News at present, the Ministry being likely to remain at least till the 
meeting of parliament — the dispute of the Physicians is at present mostly the Topic 
of discourse but its now almost threadbare. I beg my best respects to Mrs. Woodgate 
& all the Family, & am. Dr. Sir, yours most affectionately, 

Jno. Acton. 
Shire Lane, Octr. 27th, 1767." 

In March, 1768, it seems that Stephen, previous to setting up business on his 
own account, was engaged with a firm of solicitors in London, which appears more 
clearly in the next letter, the twenty-third. Acton's remarks on the affair of Wilkes 
are of considerable value ; they come from a keen observer of contemporary events, 
and a thoroughly able lawyer. 

" Dear Sir, 

I was favoured with one of yours sometime since, which I begged Mrs. Acton to 
acknowledge the receipt of, it not being then in my power to answer it. I doubt not 
you thought the time long before Stephen was fixed, which gave me some concern, 
being convinced his wishes run before hand with my success, but things do not always 
turn out as we would. At last, however, I hope at least, he's agreeably settled for 
the present, till something better turns out, tho' I could wish his salary would more 
nearly ballance his Expences ; so much I can testify for the Gents he's with, that 
they are all men of great probity & honour in their profession, & have great business 
among the first Rank. Something has been mentioned with Respect to his boarding 
with us ; one objection (& the greatest) is answered by my Wife's acquiescence & 
the light he stands in to us ; & tho' its not my intention to take any person under the 
predicament of a Boarder, yet as its my earnest wish by every act in my power to 
testify my regard to every one of your Family, I shall only say that so long as my 
House & Hours are agreeable to him, I shall be very happy in his Company, & to 
render him every service in the compass of my abihties. He seems at present solely 
disposed to sobriety & diligence in his business, which I doubt not will continue ; 
my friend Harry in these is a very good Pattern. 

Mrs. Acton being gone to the Wardrobe, I am now her emanuensis in the 
following, that she was there yesterday ; Mrs. Ashburnham (b) was out airing & pretty 
well, which rejoices all here as the air will certainly be of service to her. We are 
all very well and our dear little Boy grows charmingly ; they tell me I'm a very good 
nurse, but with your permission I hope soon to take Mrs. Woodgate's sentiments 
upon it, as I think her a great Judge ; we have many a battle for him here, par- 
ticularly after Dinner when Harry posts himself at the Door to take him at his 
entrance. He's very strong & I hope his Humour abates, but has no Signs of a 
Tooth yet. 

(6) Mrs. Ashburnham, Mrs. Acton's sister, and formerly Alicia Woodgate, was the wife of 

Mr. William Ashburnham, M.P. for Hastings and Deputy Keeper of the Great Wardrobe. 
He afterwards succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father. 


Our heads have been all turned with Wilkes and Liberty here lately, but 
yesterday exceeded all I ever saw. The papers you'l doubtless see have the whole of 
it however ; he has carried his Election for the County hollow as they say. He was 
strongly supported in the County by men of property & had as good Managers as the 
old Members had the reverse — the mob of many many thousands, men women & 
children for him greatly opposed the Voters going for the other two, stoned them, 
broke the Coaches &c. with other glorious marks of Liberty, to wch they were not a 
little irritated by their very imprudently carrying colours before them with " No 
Blasphemers," "No French Runnagates " on them; however these were soon 
demolish'd, & then by putting the immortal No. 45 on the coaches &c they all passed 
on & last Night the poll closed. I know many turned back not choosing to risk a 
broken head, but at the place all was quiet & in good order & a very fair Election. 
This day the Sheriff declared the Numbers to be thus — Wilkes 1,292, Cooke 827, & 
Proctor 807, so he fairly beat them & the two first were duly returned. Sir WiUiam 
I hear on the declaration went & shaked him by the hand & wished him Joy. He 
behaved extreamly well diuring both his Polls & yesterday did all in his power to 
keep peace & order as agreed on all hands. Last Night all London & Westminster 
was Illimiinated from one End to the other & those Houses that refused had their 
Windows broke ; the Mansion House has suffered above £700 damage, all the 
Windows, Glass Sconces, Chandahers, Chimney pieces &c. broke to pieces because 
they would not put out lights & in revenge for some supposed affronts of the Lord 
Mayor to their Idol Wilkes. He was not at home, but some are in Custody to-day. 
Many houses were threatened till they put out Lights. I'm glad Cooke is in, as his 
place is very materialy convenient to him. Lord Baltimore's Trial on Saturday 
lasted from half past 7 in the Morning till near 4 the next Morng., when he & the 
women were acquitted of the Capital Felony. The prosecutrix gave a most affecting 
clear circumstantial account of the whole, never faultered, nor put one occurrence 
before another or left any uncleared. . . What I believe tended most to his 
acquittal was her denying that she ever said before Lord Mansfield that she was 
satisfied & desired to return with my Lord B. in wch she was flatly contradicted by 
Mr. Way, & in another part by Lord M's own Servant, two indifferent witnesses — 
these you see greatly discredited her whole Evidence, notwithstanding which the 
Baron seemed with her & 4 of the Jury were for convicting him. Another Indictment 
is found for the Conspiracy &c. in wch his pocket will suffer & not his neck ; this we 
shall have, 

I am desired to present all due respects from hence to yourself & Family, & 
believe me to be with the utmost sincerity. Dr. Sir, yours most affectionately, 

Jno. Acton. 
Shire Lane, 29th March, 1768." 

The next letter, the twenty- fourth, though written nearly three months later 
(9th June, 1768) resumes the subject of Wilkes. In it he discusses with much 
learning and in minute detail the various reasons why the Outlawry was reversed ; 
but the interest is of too special a character for the generality of readers, and some 
of the reasons, which were overruled, were, in his own words, ' ' too nice for any 
man but a most refined casuist in the Law to enter into." He adds : — 

' ' I am very sorry to hear Mr. Cooke is dead, as its a great loss to his Family. 
Mr. Manley is one of his Executors & fully employed. It's believed Mr. Serjt. Glyn 
will be chosen on Wilkes's Interest [i.e., to take Mr. Cooke's place in Parliament], 
which I don't think unlikely in the present popular clamour. 

I am happy to acquaint you that our dear httle Boy continues quite well, but 
of this Mrs. Acton writes herself. I shall only say that I'm afraid you'l soon have 
a parcel of troublesome guests, tho' with your leave I intend soon to make one 


amongst them, offering at the same time ample Revenge in Shire Lane on demand. 
The Young Lawyers & I must do in the interim as well as we can. 

I beg all respects &c., & am, Dr. Sir, your most sincere and affectionate 

Jno. Acton. 
Shire Lane, gth June, 1768. 

Yesterday another North Briton No. 51 was pubhshed by Bindley containing 
the speech he intended to have made in Court by way of shewing Cause agst his 
Attachment, ten times more audacious & Impudent than the other, on which the 
Attorney moved to-day for another Attachment." 

The twenty-fifth letter, three years later, is more melancholy in tone ; it contains 
news of the death of Harry Acton, not two years old ; and is endorsed by Mr. 
Woodgate, " death of dear, dear little Harry." 

' ' Dear Sir, 

I am most unhappy to be forced to confirm the fatal news you were prepared to 
expect. It pleased the Almighty to take our ever dear sweet blessed Harry (c) to 
himself, soon after twelve yesterday, to the inexpressible affliction of his poor 
Parents. God's Will must be done, & we submit ; but it is very hard so suddenly to 
lose such a dear little Prattler ; indeed we were not prepared for such a sudden 
dreadfull Blow. Poor dear, he is an Angel, & happy beyond our Conception. I 
can't descend to particulars, being far from well myself, & his ever dear Afflicted 
Mother unable to write. Miss Woodgate is at the Wardrobe, so you must hear more 
from her. The dear Baby suffered a great deal from the Convulsions but went off 
gradually at last. Four days ago in the bloom of Health & Beauty & now no more. 
Great God ! what a change ! We had Dr. Ford, Dr. Eliot, Mr. Davenport & Mr. 
Crawley, but all human aid, & all our prayers, were in vain. My Wife with great 
grief & sitting up, was very ill yesterday, but as we prevailed on her to go to Bed 
soon after the fatal stroke, hope she is better in health to-day. God alone knows what 
was the Cause, as we are ignorant, except Dr. Ford's surmising it something of an 
Epidemical disorder, now about among Children, but this is doubtful. Miss Fanny 
is very well, but very unfortunate to be here at such an Event. She joins with my 
Wife in Duty, Love and good wishes to all the Family as due, & I am. Dr. Sir, your 
most unhappy 

but sincere 

Jno. Acton. 
Shire Lane, Saturday, 4th May, 1771." 

Three years later he received highly advantageous proposals from Mr. Wyatt, 
an Old Tonbridge boy and a leading London Solicitor. 

' ' Dear Sir, 

The Relationship I have the happiness to bear to you demands the earhest 
information of every material change in my Circumstances & Connections. Mrs. 
Acton has given you a hint, she tells me, that we might soon become Citizens, which 
seems now reduced to a certainty. My friends are unanimous in their opinion, 
that the proposal made to me was too advantageous to be rejected. Mr. Wyatt, 
upon the death of his Partner, made me an offer of half his Business, provided I 
could give up my present attendance, & come to his House in Swithins Lane, Lombard 

(c) " Mrs. Acton married Jany. ye 24th, 1765. 
John Acton bom Sept. 22nd, 1767. 
H. Acton bom Oct. 14th, 1769. 

died May 3rd, 1771. 
My dear Mrs. Acton died Janry. 1st, 1785. 
Mr. Acton died March 22nd, 1787. 
Mrs. Cleaton married April 26th, 1787. 
Mary Cleaton bom Janry. 24th, 1790." 
The above is from a Hst of births, marriages, and deaths kept by one of the Mountfield Woodgates. 


Street. After due consideration I have accepted it, & to-morrow morning I shall 
wait on my Lord. Mr. Wyatt has been in business above five & thirty years, & now 
resides in Bloomsbury Square. Perhaps you may know him as he went to Tunbridge 
School, is a Sussex Gent., has a Seat 12 miles on this side Lewes, & a very considerable 
Landed Estate. I have done agency business some years for them, which induced 
Mr. Wyatt spontaneously to make me the offer, & to refuse many large offers of 
partnership. He has very large concerns, & some of the first business in the City, 
all of which is instantly to be turned into my Name, but he to attend every Morning, 
& when he dies the whole to be mine. I am obliged to give up the Sittings, as being 
incompatible with the business I shall be fully engaged in, but shall keep my Com- 
missionership & some of the best Error agency, which is to be my own. The House 
is very old & bad, but being Mr. Wyatt's own, & the old shop, I shall take it, at least 
at present, & get a House at Camberwell or some where near for my Family. I 
shall have my hands full, but the great consideration is, that I hope the sooner to 
get out of the Smoke. Mrs. Acton went to-day to visit the House, & we afterwcirds 
dined at Bloomsbury, but I do not wish her to be much in Town. Business is more 
a Freehold than places, besides the change is far beyond what I could expect in that 
way. I have been thus particular, because you ought to be acquainted with the 
whole. I hope & doubt not making above a thousand a year — but I must work hard. 
Am happy to tell you we are all very well. The Kensington air has done none of us any 
harm — am joined in all due respects by Mrs. Acton & Sister, to yourself & Family, 
I am dear Sir, yours sincerely, 

Jno. Acton. 
Shire Lane, i8th March, 1773. 
Mr. Foster desires Compts." 

This connection led to Acton's becoming, ultimately (as we are informed), 
Sohcitor to the Bank of England, one of the greatest prizes to be obtained by any 
firm. With the exception of one short note, this is the last of his letters, which are 
for the most part sealed with the Acton arms, " Gules, two lions passant between 
nine crosses-crosslet fitchee," being the arms borne by the ancient family of Acton 
of Cheshire, from which John Acton was descended. The correspondence is taken 
up by Mrs. Acton, who writes to her sister in 1778 with congratulations on her 
" My dear Mrs. Humphry, 

By a letter from my sister last post we had the happiness of hearing the pleasing 
conclusion of an event which I hope will prove a continual source of felicity to yourself 
& Mr. Humphry and all your Friends. I beg in the name of all here you will accept 
our most sincere congratulations on the occasion. I find they are very gay in Sussex 
with their red coats ; my sister has all the Beaus to herself, at Courtlodge I mean, 
as our old Friend will be glad of their company often. Captain Seymour slept with 
us last week in his way to Cockheath, his face more broad and full as yellow as usual ; 
Mr. Humphry [Ozias Humphry] and Brother Henry dined with us on Sunday, the 
former will visit you soon I believe. Mr. Acton and Mary join their Love and best 
Respects to Mr. Humphry, yrself, and Fan, with her who is with all cordiality yours 
most affectly, M. Acton. 

Vauxhall, Novr. 17, yB>. " 

The next letter to Mrs. Humphry is also dated from Vauxhall, 1784, where it 
seems the Actons were residing instead of at Camberwell. It was written by Mrs. 
Acton a few days before her death ; her hand was evidently weak and feeble, and she 
lacked the strength to conclude the letter, which is finished in the hand of her sister- 
in-law and namesake. 

" Vauxhall, December 23. 

My ever dear and much loved Friend, 

Accept tho' late our most hearty congratulations on the birth of yr. dear Httle 
George. May his happy parents enjoy every additional felicity that can attend so 



desire able an event. I am wish'd to say our Family are ever at yr, service to select 
for a christening party. Many thanks to Mr. Humphry & you for our kind 
present ; I ventured to eat some, which was most excellent, I fancy pork is very scarce 
this year as we pay 8d. pr. pd. 

Your good spouse made us a kind tho short visit, dare say he will tell you I 
continue very much the same, cannot get the right side the post. My last experiment 
is lay'd aside, cd. find no effect fm. it. We shall aU mourn the loss of a good Brother, 
but I sincerely hope he will reap every expected benefit. I don't wish to bid him 
farewell, quite a serious business. You have, my dear, our every good wish for yr. 
speedy getting about again, & then I will tell you another wish viz., that you will 
bring yr. little Nursery & stay some Time with us ; my little new Doctor wd. soon 
cure me, I have half gained one of the party already. I am rather tired ; my dear 
Mary will finish. Adieu, my dear, God Almighty Bless with health & all comfort you 
& yours. 

M. Acton. 
Love to our dear Friends on the Hill." 

Then, in another handwriting : — 

"You have nothing to regret in being confin'd this severe weather. I begin 
to think it is set in for three Months at least. Our poor Cook has had a fall and 
sprcdn'd her Arm dreadfully, we feared it was broke at first ; Mr. Carsan thinks she 
wUl not have the use of it for many months. I forget whether I told Mr. H. the story 
of ^Mrs. Williams. She was a Miss Chapman our Neighbour ; her friends have been 
Mourning for her since July, but some doubts having lately occur'd, they apply'd to 
Lord Mansfield to make him [Mr. Williams] produce certificates of her death &c. but 
to the astonishment of all parties he brought her in, alive and in perfect health. 
There are two children whom he had likewise kill'd. The day was fixed for his 
marrying a young Lady of large fortune. The Lord Mayor is so displeased at his 
conduct in making him wear Mourning that he is going to disolve their partnership 
immediately, it is quite a novel story There is not the least truth in the reports 
about the .... of France, Lady Salisbury, or Mrs. Herbert ; the last was 
invented by an Irish Countess, against whom a prosecution is commenced. We spent 
a most agreeable day at Stockwell on Sunday ; Mr. Manning was much admir'd, 
he is a Devonshire Man, has a Brother a Clergyman at Exeter. With Love cind 
Compliments of the Season to all, beheve me, yours most Affectionately. 

M. A. 

Hope to hear from you soon." 

Mrs. Acton died on ist January following. Her offer, however, to stand sponsor 
for George Humphry was accepted, and carried out by Mr. Acton, as we learn from 
his last letter two months later, addressed to Mrs. Humphry : — 
" My dear Madam, 

I embrace the earliest opportunity of acknowledging the favor of your very 
kind Letter received to-day. I accept your obliging Invitation with great pleasure, 
& nothing but the continuance of my present very violent Cold & ill state of Health 
shall prevent my personal attendance. It is right to acquaint you I have engaged 
to answer for my little friend at River Hill [Elizabeth Woodgate, bom February, 
1785] in the same week, therefore the Families must settle between themselves as 
to the day & I write by the same Post to both Houses. I have unavoidable Engage- 
ments on next Wednesday & Thursday morning, but Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 
& Monday I am at all yom: Service. You will do me the favour of pointing upon 
some Fish, Oranges &c. My best respects to Mr. Humphry & my young friends, 
& have the Honor to be, Dr. Madam, yrs. most faithfully, 

Jno. Acton. 
Swithins Lane, 22nd March, 1785. 

Permit me to request an Answer on Saturday next." 

Mr. Acton did not long survive his wife, and died on 22nd March, 1787, still in 
the prime of hfe. He left but one child, John, born 1767, the other son having died ; 
his sister, once more being left alone in the world, married, the next month, 26th 
April, Mr. Cleaton and had a daughter Mary Cleaton {d) born 1790. John Acton, 
the son, pursued no profession, it seems ; and appears to have passed the rest of his 
hfe with the Cleatons, 

John Acton is hereafter mentioned occasionally in the letters, and from time to 
time he would stay with his relations in Kent, such as at River hill or with his Aunt 
Rose Woodgate at Tonbridge, to whom he would send presents of game and Yorkshire 
hams. But living in Yorkshire, far from all the family, it is not unnatural that he 
should gradually drop out. He settled first at Hesterton ; and then at Car Mount, 
in the ^o^vnship of Ruswarp, Yorkshire. 

In Dec. 1840, Mrs. Lipscomb, one of the daughters of Henry Woodgate of 
Riverhill, writes : — 

" We paid Mr. Acton a visit for a week this summer at his pretty place Carr 
Mount near Whitby ; he sent us a pressing invitation by Mrs. J. Woodgate, who 
went to see him. It was a great pleasure to me to see him again ; he is a very fine, 
hearty and handsome old Man. Miss Cleaton is rather a curiosity." 

One of Mrs. John Woodgate's sons was named Acton, after him ; his life 
was short, but he reflected great credit on the name, and fell bravely fighting at 

(d) Among the letters is one signed Mary C. (unless the C. is intended as a kind of flourish to 

the last letter), unaddressed and undated, beginning " My good Friend, now my dear Aunt is 
quite out of danger I can philosophize with you, but whilst I was hourly in Fear of losing so 
excellent a Friend, Reason pleaded in vain — it cd. not reconcile me, &c., &c." She continues to say 
that her father and sisters left at 6 o'clock that morning, and her uncle was shortly expected ; 
and in the most pressing manner requests a visit to enhven her aunt and herself at Chingford 
Hall, which lay two hours by the coach outside London, beyond Hackney and Walthamstow. 
It is possible that the author was Mary Cleaton or her daughter Mary, and her correspondent 
one of the Humphrys ; but this is onlv a hazard. 




Alicia Woodgate, the third daughter of the Revd. Francis Woodgate of Mount- 
field, b. 1741, m. in 1766 William Ashburnham of Broomham, in the parish 
of Guesthng near Hastings, the eldest son of Sir William Ashburnham, Bart., Bishop 
of Chichester. The family of Ashburnham is very ancient ; and as its earlier history 
is well known, it is sufficient to say here that Broomham had been in possession of 
the ancestors of this branch from time immemorial, and was brought into the 
Ashburnham name by the marriage of Richard Ashburnham with the daughter and 
heiress of Sir John Stoneling of Broomham. Richard's younger brother John was 
the ancestor of the Earls of Ashburnham, of Ashburnham, near Battle, whose title 
(and also that of Baron Ashburnham) is of more recent origin than that of the 
Baronet's, which was created in 1661. One circumstance may here be mentioned 
in connection with the family. It is asserted that Juxon, Bishop of London (whose 
portrait is at Broomham) and Sir Denny Ashburnham of Broomham were the only 
adherents of Charles I who were with that unhappy monarch on the scaffold. The 
latter obtained the watch which the King had in his pocket when he was executed, 
and likewise the shirt he then wore, which had some drops of blood on it, and some 
other relics. These were bequeathed in 1743 to the parish clerk of Ashburnham in 
Sussex and his successors for ever, and are deposited in the parish Church there. 
Sir William Ashburnham, Bishop of Chichester from 1754 to 1797 {a), married 

(a) Sir William Ashburnham, Bishop of Chichester, b. 1710, d. 14th September, 1797, leaving 


1. William (Sir), of whom presently. 

2. Margaret, d. unm., 1822-3. 

■ 3. Frances, d. unm. 4. Catherine m. Capt. Fitzgerald. 

5. John, Capt. in General Brown's Horse and His Majesty's Page in Waiting, d. unm. 
May, 1768. 
Sir William, b. 5th March, bapt. 29th March, 1739, at St. Anne's, Soho, M.P. for Hastings 
1761-74, Deputy Keeper of the Great Wardrobe, High Sheriff of Sussex 1803, m. 12th April at 
St. Clement Danes, AUcia, dau. of Rev. Francis Woodgate of Mountfield (b. 15th August, 1741, 
d. 10th January, bu. 18th January, 1777 in Guesthng Church). He died 21st August, 1823, 
aged 84, leaving issue 

1. Sir William, bapt. 21st June, 1769, in Scotland Yard, m. at Seal, 7th July, 1825, 

d. 2l8t March, 1843, without issue. He married Juhana, daughter of the 
Rev. WiUiam Humphry of Seal, and Elizabeth his wife, dau. of Rev. Francis 
Woodgate; born 27th July, 1789, d. 22nd February, 1865. 

2. John (Rev. Sir) B.D. of Clare Hall, Rector of Guesthng 1795, Chancellor of the 

Diocese and Prebendary of Chichester 1796, Vicar of Pevensey 1816, b. 26th 
December, 1770, in Scotland Yard, d. 1st September, 1854. He married Ist 
Frances 4th dau. of WilUam Foster of HoUington (b. 29th March, 1787, 
d. nth April, 1838), and had issue 

(a) John Piers, b. 28th March, 1821, d. 8th January, 1839. 

(b) Sir Anchitel, Bart., b. 1828, father of the present Baronet. 

(c) Lawrence. 

(d) Sir Cromer, K.C.B., Major General 

(e) Fanny Ahcia. (/) Honor. 

Sir John m. 2ndly Anne, dau. of Thomas Harman, who died without issue in 

3. Denny (Rev.), B.A. Clare ColL, Cambridge, Vicar of Ditchling and Rector of 

Catsfield, Sussex, b. 20th May, 1773, d. 1843, m. 1st 20th February, 1802, Nancy, 
only child of Joseph Dickson of Calcutta, and rehct of T. F. Bancroft (she died 
at Eltham, Ist May, 1818, without issue). By his second wife he left issue. 


Margaret, daughter of Thomas Pelham, M.P. for Lewes, and EHzabeth his wife ; 
the latter was daughter of Henry Pelham, Clerk of the Pells, younger brother of Lord 
Pelham of Laughton and uncle of Thomas Pelham Duke of Newcastle, and of his 
brother Mr. Henry Pelham, both of whom served as Premier under the early Georges. 
The Pelham influence was usefully exerted to secure the advancement of the family, 
and there are several letters among the Newcastle correspondence in the British 
Museum from different Ashburnhams, chiefly the Bishop of Chichester. 

The Ashburnhams of Broomham on many previous occasions had represented 
Hastings in Parliament, and William Ashbumham, the husband of Alicia Woodgate, 
was returned together with Mr. James BrudeneU in March, 1761. His town resi- 
dence was in Albemarle Street ; his father Hved principally at the Palace in 
Chichester, and Broomham was only occasionally occupied by the family. Upon 
his marriage in 1766, he took a house in Scotland Yard, Westminster. In March, 
1768, he was re-elected Member of Parliament for Hastings, and was made — at this 
or some other period — Deputy Keeper of the Great Wardrobe. There is a long series 
of letters from the different members of the family, the first of which was written 
from London in 1766 to the Rev. Francis Woodgate at Mountfield, on receipt of a 
Christmas hamper and a substantial Christmas present. 
'* Dear Sir, 

I am to thank you for a very obUging and kind letter I reed yesterday by Miss 
Woodgate ; who, I have the pleasure to inform you, arrived here safe about 3 o'clock. 
Please to accept my grateful acknowledgments of the favour of ^^lo and ;^30 notes 
enclos'd in yr letter. 

I certainly should have acquainted you and Mrs. Woodgate of my dear wife's 
illness at the beginning, had not her sister been continually with her, who wrote 
every post to inform you of the true state of her health, and whose account I believed 
would be at least as good, if not better, than what I cou'd have been able to have 
sent you. Your daughter has all the assistance that can be procured for her ; is at 
present as well as can be expected ; and hope and pray will in a short time be 
re-instated in her former health. We are extremely happy in having Miss Woodgate 
with us ; yet, I own, shou'd be made more, far more happy might we hope ever to 
be indulged with yours and Mrs. Woodgate's presence here. I know there are great 
obstacles that deprive us of that happiness ; and tho' it is not for me to advise upon 
that occasion, I may nevertheless be permitted to own that, cou'd it be brought 
about, with safety and satisfaction to yourselves, nothing wou'd afford me greater 
happiness. Our united duty and love attend on 5'ou and yx family. I am, 

Your dutiful son, 

Willam Ashbumham. 

Mary Ellen, who m. 16th May, 1845, her cousin, John Eldridge West, Capt. 8th 
Regt.* and had seven children. He m. 3rd, 10th July, 1823, Harriet, dau. of 
William Luckie, who died 17th July, 1890, leaving issue Harriet Ahcia, who 
m. 30th December, 1845, Rev. Alexander Chirol, B.A., of Clare HaU, Cambridge, 
and had several children. 
4« George WiUiam, b. 2nd August, 1774, left issue by Hannah his wife (who d. 30th 
June, 1844). 

(a) Flora, b. 1825, m. 1853 Colin Turing Campbell of Grahamstown, Cape 

(6) George Percy, of Worcester Coll., Oxford. Left issue, 
(c) Denny, d. unm., 1900. 
\d) John Woodgate, b. 1840, m. 1864 Juha, dau. of Dr. Merriman, D.D., 

Bishop of Grahamstown, and had issue, 
(e) Decima, m. 1863 George Montague Cole of Port Elizabeth. 
(/) Bertram, d. 1860. 

and four children who died in infancy, 
6. AUcia, b. 10th January, 1777, m. December, 1804, James Eldridge West of Postern 
Park, Tonbridge.* 

* See Reference Sheet. 

London, Deer. 25th, 1766. 

Mrs. Ashbumham joins me in returning you and Mrs. Woodgate very many 
thanks for the hospitable hamper of provisions : indeed, we are very much oblig'd 
by it. The hamper shall be returned next week, without fail." 

The next letter is dated several months later from Crowhurst, where Mr. 
Ashburnham was staying with his uncle, Henry Pelham. 

' ' Crowhurst, Aug. 9th, 1767. 
Dr. Sir, 

When I was last at Mountfield, you was so obliging as to say, that you shou'd 
be glad to see us again at any other time ; I now take the liberty of mentioning that 
Mrs. Ashburnham and myself intend doing ourselves the pleasure of waiting upon 
you again on Monday next, if that will be quite convenient ; if otherwise, I beg you 
wou'd be so good to let me know. We dine at Ashburnham [Ashburnham Place, 
belonging to the Earl of Ashburnham] on Monday and intend coming to Moimtfield 
in the evening. I hope you will think Mrs. Ashburnham much mended in her health 
since you saw her ; indeed, I think her very much so, which affords me very great 
happiness. The notice which Lord and Lady Ashburnham have been pleased to 
take of us affords me the greatest joy ; and as it is a matter which so nearly concerns 
our welfare, I flatter myself it will be no disagreeable thing to you to hear of. I beg 
leave to trouble you with my kindest love to all your familv, and believe me to be. 
Dr. Sir, 

with the greatest regard, most affectionately yours 

William Ashbumham." 

There is in existence a letter from William Ashbumham to his cousin Thomas 
Pelham of Stanmer, Earl of Chichester, in 1773. 

" My Lord, 

I take the liberty of troubling your Lordship with this to request the Honor of 
you to be a sponsor, at the christening of our third son, now three weeks old. He 
was privately baptiz'd the day after he was born, by the name of Denny ; & we 
intend to have him christened about the end of this week ; viz. Friday or Saturday. 
The Countess of Ashburnham and my Uncle John Pelham intend doing us the like 
Honor. Mrs. Ashbumham presents her best compliments & joins me in the above 
Request ; & we both join in the same to Lady Pelham. 
I have the Honor to be 

Your Lordship's most obedient 
Scotland Yard, Humble Servant, 

June 2ist, 1773. William Ashburnham." 

There is an undated letter from Lady Ashburnham, the Bishop's wife, to her 
little grandson William, referring to the death of her cousin, Lady Catherine Pelham : 

"Albemarle Street, Febry the 21. 
Dear William, 

Before I left Chichester, Mrs. Clark desired me to convey a httle prayer book to 
you, that she begs your acceptance of. I sent it to you by Mr. Holhngbury last 
week and hope you received it safe, and desire you would let me know if you have 
received it. I desire you woxild tell your Papa that we all went into mourning last 
Sunday for Lady Catherine Pelham. I hope to hear you are all well. With my love 
to your Papa and your brothers, I am, dear Child, 

Most affectionately yours, 

M. Ashburnham." 

The letter is sent under a cover franked ' ' W. Chichester," and addressed to 
Hastings. William Ashburnham soon developed into a Poet of considerable 
promise ; a note from Mrs. Frankland (aa) written a few years later, compliments 
Miss Ashburnham upon her ingenious nephew's poem, and begs leave to congratulate 
her and all the amiable young man's nearest connections on his abilities as a scholar 
and his general good character. 

Alicia Ashburnham died loth January, 1777, in giving birth to her daughter 
Alicia, and was buried in Guestling Church ; we believe that the church, which was 
paved with brick, was destroyed by fire in the last century together with the monu- 
ments, but whether there exist any to her memory or that of her husband or family, 
we have not ascertained. 

It appears that for some reason Alicia was not christened till nearly eighteen 
months after her birth ; Miss Cresset, her godmother, was daughter of the Bishop of 
Llandaff and first cousin of Sir William Ashburnham. The letter referring to the 
event is addressed to Mrs. Woodgate at Mountfield : — 

' ' Dear Madam, 

I am to thank you for the very great favour you have done me in answering for 
my little daughter. The ceremony was performed on Sunday evening last. It was 
not in my power to send you word before it happen'd ; therefore I hope you will 
excuse it. The other two sponsors were, my Father and Miss Cressett. My children 
are all well and desire their duty and love. I intend coming out of town within a 
fortnight and believe I shall go to Tunbridge Wells, I am sorry we can't come into 
Sussex, as my boys had promised themselves much pleasiire in calling at Mountfield. 
There will be left at John's Cross, on Thursday afternoon, by the Diligence, a small 
parcel directed to yourself. 

I beg my best respects to Mr. Woodgate and the rest of 'the family, 

and am, dear Madam, your affectionate and obedient Servant, 

W. Ashburnham. 
Wimpole Street, Cavendish Square, 
June 9th, 1778." 

Placed in a situation so unfortunate, without mother or sisters, Alicia was brought 
up with her grandparents at Mountfield, and afterwards lived at Tonbridge with her 
aunts, when the Mountfield family was broken up. She, in common with her 
brothers, ever looked back on the Mountfield days with the greatest regard and 
affection, as appears more than once from their letters. Alicia's first letter is written 
in a round copy hand between ruled lines to her brother William at Edward Street, 
Portman Square, but the letter is inserted with greater propriety under " Mount- 
field," (see p. 62). Sir William writes to Mrs. Woodgate : — 

" Edward Street, Portman Square. 

April nth, 1782. 
Dear Madam, 

I thank you for your last letter. It was a great satisfaction to me to hear that 
Alicia continued well. I should be very much obliged to you, at your leisure, to 
send me the same good account. I have lately hired a very good house in Edward 
Street, Portman Square. As Mrs. Woodgate has been so kind as to take charge of 
my daughter so long, and that too at a time when I scarcely knew how to take 
proper care of her — at least I was unable to do so with proper satisfaction to myself — 
I shall not think of fetching her home suddenly, but wiU take some opportunity soon 
of coming to Mountfield for one night, when we may talk the matter over. 

I beg my respects to all the family at Mountfield, with love to Alicia, and am, 
dear Madam, 

Your affectionate & obedient servant, 

William Ashburnham." 

(aa) Mrs. Frankland was, we believe, mother of the Countess of Chichester. 


This is the latest letter from Sir William Ashburnham that remains to us, tho' 
he lived more than forty years longer. There is, however, another letter from his 
father, to the Earl of Chichester : — 

' ' Broomham, Septbr. i8th, 1782, 
My Lord, 

By a letter my daughter Fanny received last week from Mrs. Frankland, then 
at Stanmer, Lady Pelham was so good as to remind us of caUing at Stanmer in our 
way to Chichester. We always intended ourselves that Honour ; & I now take the 
liberty of mentioning to your Lordship the time we have fix'd for our journey 
thither. We propose to set out o' Monday se'nnight Septbr. 30th & to dine at 
Stanmer o' Tuesday, Octobr, i8th, if your Lordship has no other engagements at 
that time to prevent us. If you have, may I beg the favour of a line to inform us 
of it, as there will be time enough for us to receive any such information before we 
leave Broomham. 

I hope your Lordship will be so good as to excuse the trouble I have given you 
upon this occasion, and permit me, together with all our best Respects to Lady 
Pelham and Miss Pelhams, to assure you of that Regard and Esteem with which I 
have the Honour to be, my Lord, 

Your Lordship's most Faithfull & aifecte. Humble Servant, 

W. Chichester." 

In 1794 there is a letter from Miss Frances Ashburnham of Chichester to her 
nephew William, directed to him at Tunbridge Wells, on the occasion of a poem 
which had been sent for her perusal : — 

" Chichester, Oct. 19, 1794. 

It were impossible, my dear nephew, I should omit to acquaint you of the 
pleasure yr. excellent poem has given to your grandfather ; it gave me such true 
satisfaction to hear him express his approbation, that I should have felt myself 
greatly wanting in the affection of a regardful Aunt had I not given you the pleasing 
information. But as he might not have thought it necessary for me so to do, I would 
not have made any proposal to him of writing to you ; for while he is so perfectly 
pleased with you, God forbid / should cause one frown .... My sisters join 
me in love to my brother, yourself, and all my nephews, yours affectionately, 

F. Ashburnham. 

A letter directed for me to the Palace, Chichester, will come safe to hand." 

Besides the poem, William evidently held correspondence with the Bishop on 
religious matters ; one lengthy letter, or treatise, consisting of twenty-seven closely 
written pages, remains and enters into minute detail on many points. It is dated 
from Tunbridge Wells, 3rd February, 1796, 

It would seem that William and Denny Ashburnham were placed under the 
instruction of the Reverend WiUiam Gordon, of Speidhurst. William was certainly 
there in 1795 ; and Denny from 1795 to 1798. Both took out game hcences for those 
years, and the Revd. William Gordon and his son William {b), who were at Tunbridge 
Wells as lately as 1815, continued to do so for many subsequent years. 

Mr. Gordon was a trustee of the settlement made on the marriage of Henry 
Woodgate of Spring Grove with the Hon. Georgina Hamilton ; it is possible that this 
may help to explain the circumstances of the name Gordon having been used 
by Henry Woodgate's descendants. We have two letters of his. The first dated from 
Tunbridge Wells, ist August, 1799, thanks Wilham Ashburnham for the loan of one 
of his plays ; the writer adds : — 

" I shall be very happy to see you here this summer. 'Tis true our retired 
manner of living would prevent me from inviting any young Gentleman except your- 

(6) The Revd. William Gordon, junior, married on 24th June, 1816, Lonisa, <mly daughter of 

Thomas Lewis, K.C., of Russell Square. 


self, but I think I have seen enough of you to judge that your pleasures do not consist 
in dissipation. We have a spare Bed quite at your service, and I flatter myself there 
can be no objection, in case it be agreeable to you, why you should not use it. 
I shall be much disappointed if I have not the pleasure of your Company, whenever 
you can make it perfectly convenient, any time after the 21st inst. Please excuse 
this scrawl, which I have written amidst five unruly children. . ." 

The second, just a month later, contains some criticism of the play, the ' ' Virgin 
of the Sun " ; he adds : — 

' ' I hear your brother had a fall ; I hope he is quite well again, and that Sir 

WiUiam & your brethren are well. We do not begin to shoot here till the 14th. // 

Sir Wm. & the Gentlemen in your neighbourhood have begun, pray give me a line." 

After this Denny Ashburnham, the third son, went to Cambridge, when he writes 

to his brother William at Broomham : — 

" Clare Hall, Novr. nth, 1799. 
Dear Brother, 

My Father left Cambridge on Saturday morning, after which I breakfasted with 
Mr. Cresswell my Tutor, and was introduced into the Hall to dinner for the first 
time. I was much pleased with my new situation ; the colleges are much finer 
buildings than I expected. We went to King's College Chapel on Friday evening ; 
it is much the finest piece of Gothic architecture I ever saw. It consists of but one 
aisle, one large Gothic window at each end and many smaller ones at each side, all 
of which are painted glass, except the large one opposite the altar. The inside of the 
building is white, the choir is shut off by a partition of dark, rich coloured wood 
finely carved, over which is an excellent organ. They sang ' ' Lord of all power and 
might " in a capital style ; there were two boys who sang the duets charmingly. 
The scene altogether was the most solemn I ever witnessed. 

Clare Hall is much the pleasantest of all the colleges ; 'tis a stone quadrangle. 
My apartments consist of three rooms, two small and one large, with windows at 
each side ; one looks into the quadrangle, the other into a grass platform with a 
gravel walk round it ; on the left side of this platform stands King's College and 
Chapel, opposite a shrubbery, and on the right runs the river with a very elegant 
bridge over it. 

With regard to my studies I can say nothing at present, only that my Father 
having permitted me to have a private tutor, 'tis our intention to learn the languages. 
The day we left you we called at Tunbridge ; my sister was in good spirits and I was 
truly happy to find my Aunt Sally perfectly recovered. We slept at Seven Oaks 
and arrived in Town early next day. London was very dull : on Sunday we went 
to the Foundling Chapel in the morning ; they sang an anthem of Dr. Boyce in which 
the man sang a solo with great expression ; in the evening an anthem, opened by a 
treble duet, which was beautiful. On Friday we went to Drury Lane to see Hamlet 
and Blue Beard. Kemble was great throughout but particularly pleased me in the 
scene before the players and where he rings the queen. Durban played Polonius 
well, tho' the character will not admit of much. Mr. Chamberlain is not arrived 
yet, which I am sorry for, it being rather awkward at first not knowing anybody. 
We left Town on Wednesday the 6th : near Epping we met what would have pleased 
John to have seen, a regiment of the guards on their return from Holland, who 
appeared much war-worn. 'Tis almost an entire flat from London to Cambridge, 
and little diversity of country till you come to Audley House, the seat of Lord 
Howard's, which is a superb place. From thence to Cambridge, about 12 miles, is 
open campaign country with scarce a tree to be seen. We did not arrive till two 
hours after sunset, but it was clear and moonlight. I heard a very excellent sermon 
on Sunday at St. Mary's, the subject was the superiority of Christianity over 
Judaism and Mahommedanism. Give my kind remembrance to my brothers 
and John Dugdell, and I am, your affectionate brother, 

Denny Ashburnham. 


Blue Beard pleased me much, but I was surprised to find Kelly's voice so 
indifferent, tho' perhaps he gave the most perfect shake upon a very low note I ever 
heard. I think the music and action in the Tower scene greatly impressive," 

Three weeks later he writes again, describing the allotment of his time to various 
studies. " The 45th Regiment of foot," he says, " passed through Cambridge, & 
it was feared would have made a distvu^bance owing to the high price of bread, which 
was then 13 pence a quartern loaf, but it fell the next week." He also writes about 
music, to which he was ever devotedly attached ; his voice was exquisite and 
his taste refined. 

Denny Ashbumham eventually took Orders in 1818. His eldest brother, 
William, amused a poetic fancy with innumerable fragments of verse and sonnets, 
some of which were printed in a quarto volume in 1795 ; and many were collected 
and printed after his death. A large number, however, remain, and of these the 
following is a specimen, not indeed of the best, for the scansion is weak ; but the 
general effect is amusing : — 


When I was a maiden of blooming fifteen 

I scornful and proud used to be ; 
I was led to expect wit, wisdom, and gold. 

And nothing less would do for me. 
Ah ! then was the time, when my eyes they shone bright. 

My cheeks like the rose on the tree. 
My ringlets they fell on a forehead so white 

And Lovers came a courting to me. 


My first was a youth any girl might adore. 

And ardent as lover could be ; 
But my Mother she found out the Lad was very poor, 

So he would not do for me. 

My next was a Duke with his coronet of gold. 

And garter tied around his left knee ; 
But his face, like his family, was wonderfully old. 

So he would not do for me. 

My next was an Earl, who succeeded his Grace, 

An Earl from the north countrie. 
But he had Scotch brogue, and a lean hungry face, 

And he would not do for me. 

My next was a Baronet with bloody red hand 

Emblazon'd in heraldry. 
But he had been known behind a counter to stand, 

So he would not do for me. 

The next was a Doctor all burly and big 

Expecting a very good See, 
But I could not bear the thoughts of a horrid buz wig, 

So he would not do for me. 


The next hobbled in my favour to beg, 

An Admiral and K.C.B., 
But though famous in arms yet he wanted a leg, 

So he would not do for me. 

The next was a Nabob, just landed six weeks, 

Late Governor of Trincomalee ; 
Though his Guineas were yellow, yet so were his cheeks. 

So he would not do for me. 


The next was a Dandy, who had driven four in hand. 

Now reduced to a Tilbury ; 
But in getting over the ground he had run through his land, 

So he would not do for me. 
This was almost my last — I was then forty-four ; 

Alas ! I am now fifty- three, 
And I really think that some I rejected before. 

Would now do vastly well for me. 


Now my roses I borrow, my ringlets I buy ; 

I go out to cards and to tea ; 
If I venture an ogle, or hazard a sigh. 

There is no-one e'er returns them to me. 

Then all ye young Ladies from me warning take, 

Who scornful and proud chance to be ; 
Lest when from your fanciful dreams ye awake — 

Old maidens of fifty-three ! 

In 1795 Mr. Humphry, who had been favoured with the sight of some of his 
productions, thus addresses him : — 

" ... I meant to have taken that Opportunity of writing, and of 
returning the Play and the Poems, with the Perusal of which you have been so obliging 
to favor me. I had formed a very high opinion of your Talents for Poetry from 
the Specimen which I had before seen, and am happy to say that it is by no means 
diminished by what I have lately read. The Play altogether is very interesting — 
many of the Passages highly Poetical — and the Language throughout extremely 
elegant and perspicuous, free from that Swelling and Bombast so very disgusting in 
many of our modern Tragedies. But to speak my real sentiments, I do not concur 
with you in opinion respecting the Deviations from History. It may possibly be 
admitted in Stories taken from dark and remote ages, or the History of foreign 
countries, as in the instance you mention from Shakespeare. I apprehend however 
that the same Liberty would not be approved of in a Period of our own History that 
is perfectly known — for it has a tendency to destroy the Credibihty of the Story 
which must always lessen the Effect, and is likewise calculated to confound the 
fabulous with the True, which surely should carefully be avoided, and I believe you 
will find that Shakespeare in those Plays that are taken from om: own History adheres 
in the main very closely to the facts. I should not be siurpriz'd if it was owing to 
this that your Play was not admitted at the Theatre. Your Odes I was highly 
delighted with, and the Expostulatory Ode in particular contains much tender senti- 
ment as well as a great deal of poetical Imagery Your Poem of the 


Restoration of the Jews was greatly admired in this Neighbourhood, and Mr. 
Lambarde told me that on every fresh Perusal of it, he was charm'd with new 
Beauties. . . ." 

Whether he ever succeeded in obtaining the representation of his plays on the 
stage we do not know. A letter from his friend, Mr. WiUiam Henry Palmer of 
Bedford Row, in 1820, informs us that a tragedy had been submitted to Mr.EUiston, 
the Manager of the Drury Lane Theatre, in which Kean was intended to have acted 
the chief part. He also mentions having read with great enjoyment a volume of 
Mr, Ashburnham's Tragedies. He adds : "I think you should not require a large 
premium for it as it is your first production of the kind, and they are very shy of new 
Authors. If the first takes well, the second will pay you better." 

Under the nom de guerre of " Albert," William Ashburnham wrote one of the 
" Rejected Addresses," to be spoken at the opening of the new Theatre at Drury 
Lane, in October, 1812. It was a short address of about fifty lines. He says in 
reference to the destruction of the old building by fire 

" Let our young Drury but your care engage . . . 
And she shall rise — the Phoenix of her age." 

It would seem that Sir William Ashburnham was never at Broomham for long 
at a time, for he would often pay long visits to Tunbridge Wells and London ; 
Portman Square seems to have been his favourite residence in town. In 1802, his 
daughter Alicia, who was being brought up by her aunts Rose and Sarah Woodgate, 
at Tunbridge, spent a long time at Broomham for the purpose of being introduced 
to the people and neighbourhood. Sarah Woodgate writes of her in September : — 

' ' We have heard from Alicia several times lately ; she has been introduced to 
most of the Family's in the Neighbourhood, & has seen all our old acquaintances. 
She has been to one ball which proved a very good one, she led down the Dance with 
Mr. E. Millward. She meant to be at the Assembly yesterday. To-morrow we are 
to hear from her again. She spends her time very agreeably ; they generally take a 
drive in the morning, & have a concert in the evening." 

In December, 1814, Mary Anne Humphry writes : — 

" Mr. Ashburnham called upon mj^ Aunt on Tuesday morning. Sir Wilham 
Ashburnham leaves the Wells the beginning of next month, & has taken an House 
in Town. His Family seem to consider him in a very precarious state, having lately 
been seized with another Fit." 

Somewhere about 1823 Margaret Ashburnham, Sir William's sister, died at 
Chichester, where she had continued to live after the death of her father. The event 
is described by Rose Woodgate in a letter of the 29th January : — 

" Mrs. James West [formerly Alicia Ashburnham] received a letter from her 
Brother yesterday mentioning the death of his Aunt Margaret. She died on 
Saturday ; an express came to Guestling on Sunday, & Mr. John Ashburnham is 
gone to Chichester to superintend the funeral, which at her particular request is to 
take place at Guesthng. Mr. John Ashburnham and Mr. Constable are her Executors. 
Sir William declines daily. ... I think Mrs. Margaret's a very happy release. 
Mr. James West is invited to the Funeral, but I believe he will decline." 

About three years before, her sister Frances Ashburnham had been dangerously 
ill, but for the time being recovered. Julia Humphry, who soon afterwards married 
William Ashburnham (junior), writes on nth June : — 

Mrs. Frances Ashburnham has lately been extremely ill, & her life considered 
in imminent Danger. Mrs. Jas. West was sent for to the Wells the week before 
last and was with her for several successive days. She expressed a great desire to 
see Mr. Ashburnham, & in compliance with her wishes he came to Tunbridge on 
Saturday, & has been spending a few days at Dryhill. I took a drive to the Wells 


with Mrs. Jas. West on Wednesday when her alarming s5anptoms had subsided, & 
she was considered out of danger. Mr. Ashbumham is looking very well ; he returned 
to Broomham on Thursday, & requested to be kindly remembered to you & my 
sisters. . . . Mr, Ashbumham was much pleased with the reception he met with 
when he presided at the County meeting in Sussex, given in order to celebrate the 
return of the County Members. It was attended by all the respectable gentry, 
clergy and yeomen in that part of Sussex, amounting to more than two hundred. 
He was supported in the chair by the County Members, Mr. Burrell & Mr. Curteis, 
& I understand from Mrs. Mascel that he did the honors extremely well, & was thought 
to display great talents for public speaking. Mr. Ashbumham has since received a 
very flattering letter from Lord Ashbumham, saying how happy he was to hear he 
was coming forward on public occasions & giving him a very kind Invitation to 

In 1823 Sir William's health failed. Juha Humphry writes of him : — 

' ' Sir William's health continues much the same ; I imagine he has quite lost his 
faculties, & is reduced to a state of second childhood ;" 

and Maria West (the daughter of William Woodgate of Summerhill) writes from 
Hastings soon afterwards : — 

' ' "William West is just come from Broomham, & says a great alteration has 
taken place in Sir Wm. during the night ; he has entirely lost his speech & his sons 
think it unlikely he wiU survive the week." 

He died at Broomham on 21st August, aged 84. The papers of the day (c) 
describe his liberality to the poor, who when ill were always allowed nourishment 
from his house. On dohng day, instead of lavishing money on his tenants, he made 
it his custom to distribute fiom* in proportion to the number of each family. It 
is mentioned, as an instance of his moderation, that he never allowed the rents to 
be raised, and his tenants paid the same amount that they did to his father. By 
his will which was proved in 1824 (or by the settlement) Broomham and the Winchelsea 
estate passed to his eldest son William. Besides a considerable landed estate and 
other property, he left £30,000 in Government stock. 

It was not long before Sir William, the eldest son, made proposals for his cousin 
Julia Humphry, but not until an engagement with a Miss Ailing had very nearly been 
concluded ; as our information of this affair is contained in three letters, we cannot 
describe it better than by giving extracts from them. The first is written by Julia 
Humphry about June, 1824, describing the arrangements made by Capt. Streatfeild 
R.N., immediately before his marriage with Anne Woodgate of Riverhill : — 

' ' James John West received a letter from his uncle last week, written with his 
usual flow of spirits and speaking in the highest terms of the Beauty & agreeable 
qualities of his intended Lady. You will be surprised to hear that Captn. Streatfeild 
formerly paid his addresses to Miss Ailing & that an engagement subsisted between 
them for some years. She was introduced to the Chidingstone Family ; as the 
fortune on each side was limited Mr. Streatfeild recommended a httle delay, during 
which time Sir William's partiality was hinted, or she had an offer from a gentleman 
of larger fortune, upon which this Lady wrote to Captn. Streatfeild saying her senti- 
ments were changed, and she must regret their engagement to be considered at an 
end. You will have the goodness not to mention this unless you hear it from any 
other quarter, altho' it is generally known here." 

She writes on 5th November, 1824 : — 

" I do not know whether you are aware that obstacles have arisen with regard to 
Sir Wm. Ashburnham's marriage ; at all events it is postponed for the present and 
it is considered doubtful whether it will ever take place. The demur has arisen as is 

(c) Gentlemen's Magazine. 182,S. 


frequently the case on settlements. Sir Willm was disposed to be extremely- 
liberal, which Miss Ailing's family took advantage of & wished for nearly the whole 
of the unencumbered estate to be settled on her. Mr. Palmer considered this very 
unreasonable, & on the part of Sir Willm has remonstrated which occasions the 
delay. I must request you not to drop a hint of this, altho' you may perhaps hear 
it from James West on Sunday. The Gentleman consoled himself by having a large 
Party at Broomham last Tuesday, consisting of Ld. Robert Fitzgerald, Alderman 
Atkins (who is staying at Hastings) and all the Gentlemen in the Neighbourhood with 
whom he is acquainted." 

And again on the i6th : — ' ' I have heard from many quarters that Sir Willm 
Ashburnham's marriage is at an end. James John West was here last night, & men- 
tioned having received a letter from his uncle a few days ago confirming the report. 
The final breach was occasioned by Settlements ; Sir Wm. offered five hundred a year 
which was thought insufficient by Miss Ailing and her Brother. It has been an 
unfortunate affair for Sir Wm., altho' many of his Friends are of opinion, from the 
unamiable character of the Lady, that he has had quite an escape. I have not 
heard Mrs. Jas. West mention the subject of her Brother's marriage, & having 
only heard it from James must request you not to mention the particulars at 

In April, 1825, Sir William Ashburnham formally proposed to Julia Humphry, 
in a long letter, couched in terms of the most eloquent appreciation ; we do not feel 
justified in transcribing it at length, but one passage furnishes the keynote to much 
of their life at Broomham : — 

" On one point among many others (and it is to me a point of the greatest 
importance) I am convinced we shall cordially agree, namely in appropriating a large 
portion of the surplus of our income in the service of charity ; and I assure you that 
you will never appear so much like an angel in my eyes, as when you become the 
distributor of my bounty. Your gentle manners and benignant feelings will leave 
the balm of blessing wherever you bestow a gift. You will be a ministering Seraph to 
the poor of my parish, the admiration and delight of my neighbours, the pride, the 
glory, and the comfort of my home. . . ." 

Enclosed with the letter was one to Mrs. Humphry. The reply was favourable, 
and evoked another letter to Mrs. Humphry, which we are fortunate enough to 
possess : — 

" Tunbridge, May 5th, 1825. 
My Dear Madam, 

I return you my best thanks for your very kind and most acceptable Letter of 
the 2nd instant. Next to the acquiescence of your Dear daughter, nothing could 
afford me greater satisfaction than to find that my offer of marriage to my Dear Julia 
has received your Sanction and cordial approbation ; the Sanction and approbation 
of a parent, and such a parent as you have always been to your children, must afford 
me the highest gratification. Amongst the numerous virtues and good qualities 
which gem the brow of your lovely, your excellent daughter, filial piety shines very 
conspicuous. How happy am I to have obtained a prize so inestimable ! 

In regard to the encomiums that you have been pleased to bestow so lavishly 
on me, and which so far transcend my deserts, I shall only say that it will be an 
object of ambition with me to strive, in some degree, to deserve them. I will 
endeavour, my Dear madam, to be what you wish me to be. In every thing that 
concerns your Dear daughter, I will consider how her revered mother would wish 
me to act, and you shall be on these occasions the guiding star to direct my conduct. 
I love your Dear daughter with the truest, the most ardent affection ; to be her 
husband will be to me the summit of earthly felicity, and it shall be my care to show 
my gratitude for the blessing of her hand, by endeavouring on all occasions, small 
as well as great, to promote her comfort, her ease, her pleasure, and her wishes. 


Her sweet smiles will irradiate my home with the beams of gladness, and give a colour 
to my future life. 

Your observations on my pecuniary affairs are liberal in the extreme. I must 
however repeat that the Settlement of five hundred pounds per annum which I 
propose to make on your Dear daughter, as a jointure after my death, is very 
inadequate to her merits, and far, very far below what I could wish ; it is, however, 
unfortunately all I have in my power at present to offer. The interest arising from 
my Dear Juha's own fortune, bequeathed to her by her father, will, after my demise 
and your own, augment the amount of her jointure ; that she is satisfied with the 
Settlement I proffer evinces that moderation which is only one amongst her numerous 
good qualities. 

May providence, my Dear Madam, prolong your invaluable life to an unusual 
extent that you may behold us for a long series of years, surrounded by our children, 
and witness the happiness I shall enjoy from a union with your beautiful, amiable 
excellent daughter ! 

As Miss Humphry is going to Scale to-morrow she is so good as to be the bearer 
of this Epistle which I send as my fore-runner, as I shall, with your permission, have 
great pleasure in dining with you at Seale to-morrow, Friday, May 6th, at four o'clock. 
I remain, with sentiments of the greatest regard and esteem. My Dear Madam, yours 
very affectionately, 

William Ashburnham." 

Several letters of congratulation from various friends and relations remain, but 
we will content ourselves with two of them, namely from Mrs. C. Hardinge and 
Sir Richard Hardinge : — 

" It is needless I am sure, my dear Julia, to tell you how much we are delighted 
at the news of the happy estabhshment you are going to form — so honorable & 
unexceptionable a connection with so much sterling worth on both sides, bids fair for 
as much Domestic Felicity as Mortals may hope to enjoy. More universal Pleasure 
was never felt in any such connection, & as I always looked on you as one of my 
good girls (at least an Aunt) you must teach your Friend to consider himself as a 
Nephew. Your Mother is quite renovated. Caro. sheds tears of joy, & we are all 
happy. What can I say more ? Ever affectionately yours. 
May 8. Caroline Hardinge. 

Compts. to Mrs. R. Woodgate." 

" London, Friday. 
Dear Mrs. Humphry, 

Upon the happy event of Julia's expected Marriage you will have a load of 
congratulation and for my part I don't know how to express my gratification. How- 
ever, I can assure you I consider it as a boon of Providence to Myself, and that I do 
not feel sensible enough of it notwithstanding, inasmuch as your merits & amiable 
Conduct have been so great & so conspicuous throughout yr. life and so valuable to 
our dear friends at the Grove that I cannot feel joy commensurate to ye occasion, 
and I may add that ye Merits of the Bride Elect bid fair when tried in ye Ordeal of 
Marriage & ye Motherly State to equal yours when she arrives at your age. I beg to 
add my best regards & congratulations to all your admirable Daughters, being always 
yr, sincere friend, 

Richd. Hardinge." 

There are very kind letters from Mrs. Charles Hardinge (Emily Callender), Mrs. 
Nouaille*, Mr. Cade, Mrs. Petley*, and others, which cannot here be reproduced. 

The marriage settlement was dated 6th July, 1825, whereby certain property 
was conveyed to the Trustees upon Trust to pay the income to Sir William Ashburn- 
ham for life (except £100 a year pin money to Lady Ashburnham) ; and after his 

♦See Reference Sheet. 


death, Lady Ashbumham to receive £500 a year jointure. The Trustees were James 
Eldridge West, George Palmer, Francis Woodgate (of Ferox Hall), and Peter Nouaille 
the Younger. 

The wedding was celebrated at Seal on 7th July, 1825, by the Rev. John 
Ashbumham, Rector of Guestling ; and those who signed the register were Henry 
Woodgate of Riverhill, Mary Anne Humphry, Frances Humphry, and Alicia Amy 
West. The following day the Bride and Bridegroom set out for Broomham, and on 
their arrival at Guestling were accorded a highly gratifying reception, which is 
described in a letter of Lady Ashbumham on the 9th July : — 

" My dearest Mother, 

In the expectation of the arrival of Waters with my Packages from Seal, I 
enclose a few lines to send by him, knowing it will afford pleasure to yourself and my 
Sisters to receive an account of our journey and arrival at Broomham. On our 
arrival at Tunbridge we were greeted by the ringing of Bells and on reaching my 
Aunt's door it was so surrounded by strawers, Handbells, &c. that it was with 
difficulty we could gain admission. My Aunt I am happy to say is quite well and 
appeared much gratified by the visitors she received on that day. We were soon 
followed by Mr. & Mrs. James West & a part of their Family and Mr. & Mrs. J. 
Ashbumham, who proceeded with us to Guestling, We reached Broomham about 
eight o'clock, after having had a most favorable journey. At the Park Gate we 
were received by the whole Parish of Guestling, with strewing and loud acclamations 
of joy. Indeed it is most gratifying to witness the manner in which Sir Wm. 
Ashbumham is looked up to by his servants, neighbours and Dependants. Broomham 
far exceeds the expectations I had formed, & the grounds & gardens with a httle 
Improvement are capable of being rendered very delightful ; the House is much in 
the same state as when Fanny & myself visited it last Summer, with the exception 
of our Bed Room which is fitted up in a modern manner with every accommodation. 
Indeed, every wish I can form is anticipated by the affection and attention of Sir 
Wm. Ashbumham & I never can be sufficiently grateful to him, or thankful to 
Providence for being united to a man of such exemplary Character and Conduct. 
Tell my Sisters the Hall boasts a most beautiful display of Geraniums, but as they 
have been drawn, in order to force the blossoms, I shall defer making the request of 
procuring them some cuttings untill I have the great pleasure of seeing them at 
Broomham. We are looking forward with much Interest to the arrival of the 
detachment of plants from Seal. Sir Wm. Ashbumham as well as myself derives the 
utmost satisfaction from the kind manner in which we were received by all our 
Friends on Thursday last. I sincerely hope that you, my dear Mother, experienced 
no ill effects from the exertion of that day ; & altho every feeling of regret is not to 
be repressed, at the separation from such dear Relatives, yet it is greatly softened by 
the idea of the frequent intercourse which Sir Wm. Ashbumham has most kindly 
assured me shall always subsist between us. I tmst my Sisters are quite recovered 
from the fatigue of Preparation, &c. I shall hope to hear to day that they passed a 
pleasant Evening at Greatness. I have been much occupied both yesterday & to day 
in packing & directing wedding cake ; I hope Fanny will have sufficient for her 
Friends, as the whole at Broomham is disposed of. I depend on each of my dr. 
sisters writing to me very frequently. We do not attend Church till to-morrow 
sennight. I am to commence the superintendence of the Family on Monday. Jane 
reached Broomham before me and appears to like her new abode. We are going to 
explore the beauties of the surrounding scenery & must therefore conclude. Sir 
Wm. Ashbumham joins me in kindest Regards to my sisters and yourself, & BeHeve 
me, my dearest Mother, yr truly affect. Daughter, 

Broomham, Juliana Ashbumham. 

July 9th, 1825. 

Sir William Ashburnham desires me to say with his most affectionate Respects, 
that you wiU receive a Letter from him in the course of a few days. The Packages 
from Seal are just arrived, we are much obliged to dear Fanny for her exertions. 
The Plants appear to have suffered less than cd. have been expected from the Journey. 
Have the goodness to let Mrs. Hughes know that her Daughter is arrived here safe & 
well, 10 o'clock." 

From this period until 1833 there is an almost unbroken series of letters, with 
an average of more than one to each month ; it would be impossible to set out at 
length each letter, and the utmost we can do is to make some selections from the 
voluminous correspondence that succeeds. Hastings was at that time a very 
favourite resort, especially with many members of the family, and the allusions to the 
Wests, Nouailles and other relatives are constant. The next letter is about a month 

" Broomham, August 7th, 1825. 
My dear Fanny, 

I fear you have accused me of inattention in not having written to you before, 
but reaUy my time has been so entirely occupied in receiving visitors and returning 
visits, attending Parties, &c and finishing my dresses, that really I have not had an 
hour at my own disposal. Sir Willm. Ashburnham desires me to thank my Mother 
for her kind Letter, by which we learnt that you have all been spending a little time 
at Tunbridge. I depend on receiving a full account of the manner in which you 
passed yx. time. We have not heard from Mrs. James West for some time, and we 
are anxious to know how our Friends in Kent are disposing of themselves and whether 
the Dryhill Family visit Brighton this season. Since I ^vrote to Mary Anne I have 
had many morning visitors, & the neighbourhood here being so distant a great part 
of our time has been occupied in returning visits. Mr. and Mrs. Camac came to 
Hastings about a fortnight ago and were early in their attentions at Broomham. 
Mrs. Camac appears quite a woman of the world and is extremely lively and enter- 
taining in her manner ; they brought an Invitation to dine with them last Wednesday 
which we accepted, and met a Party of eighteen at Dinner. Nearly the whole 
Company had assembled before we entered the Room & I confess I felt myself a 
little overpowered by the novelty & splendor of the scene ; but the manners of the 
Hostess were so encouraging that I regained my composure before I was handed out 
of the Room by Mr. Camac. The party consisted of Sir George Prescott's family, 
who have taken Battle Abbey for five years, Mr. Brisco and Mr. Musgrave, Mr. and 
Mrs. Wastel Brisco, Mr. & Mrs. Shadwell, two officers, & Mr. & Mrs. Shorter. We 
had an excellent dinner consisting of Soup, Fish, Venison, &c., it was extremely well 
served up and we had a very agreeable visit. I must now proceed to give you an 
account of the Lewis Races which we attended last week. We left Broomham on 
Thursday morning ; the weather was unfavourable for our journey & the Roads not 
good, however we reached Wantons, Mr. Dugdell's, about six o'clock in the Evening. 
From the high manner in which Sir Willm. speaks of Mrs. Dugdell I was prepossessed 
in her favour and she appears to be an amiable & sensible woman, & they paid us 
every attention during our stay. On Friday morning we proceeded to Lewis, & 
attended the Race course ; in consequence of the previous Rain and the heavy 
showers that fell during the morning the scene was not so gay as usual, altho' the 
Duke of York & many elegant equipages were on the Ground. I had a good view of 
his Royal Highness who pass'd the carriage on Foot several times. Ld. Abingdon's, 
Ld. Chichester's & Ld. Egremont's carriages & four were also on the course. In the 
Evening we attended the Ball, upwards of two hundred Persons were present amongst 
whom were many of the nobility and leading gentry of Sussex. I cannot attempt to 
enumerate the different persons I heard named, but I will mention some of the most 
considerable. Ly. Chichester, her two Daughters & Ld. Pelham, Ld. & Lady Abing- 
don, Ld. & Lady Gage, Lady Dane, Sir G. & Lady Shiffner, Sir John & Lady Shelley, 
&c. I had the honour of being introduced by Sir Wm. to Lady Chichester & she 


afterwards introduced me to her two Daughters, the Ladies Mary & Amelia 
Pelham ; they are not handsome, but appeared to enjoy the Ball exceedingly & to 
possess very amiable and pleasing manners. All the Luxford family were present ; 
I was a good deal with them & they were happy to renew their acquaintance. I was 
also congratulated by Mr. Donald & Mrs. Fitzhue who is not the least altered and looks 
as well as when Mary Lane ; Mrs. Lane was with her Party. Sir G. Shiffner's eldest 

son is lately married, & Mrs. Shiffner & Miss (illegible) were considered the Belles 

of the Evening . . . There was a magnificent & brilliant display of Diamonds 
among the Ladies but the most splendid set was Mrs. Camac's. 

On Wednesday we dine with Mr. & Mrs. Wastel Brisco at Battle. The Neigh- 
bourhood wish to establish BaUs at Battle & one is to be attempted this week which 
we are to attend with them. I am sure you will think my head will be turned by the 
number of our Engagements, & indeed I am a little of the same opinion, I was 
shocked to see in the Papers the death of the Duchess of Dorset. Pray recollect I 
have received very little news of my native land since our marriage. Sir William is 
going to send to the post this afternoon when I hope to receive a letter from you, 
& as dinner hour is arrived I must conclude," 

Mrs. Camac had been a Miss Brisco of Coghurst, and was married three times. 
William Camac was her first husband. He belonged, we believe, to an Irish family, 
and he had spent the earlier part of his life in India, where he had realized a very large 
fortune. ' ' He shook the Pagoda tree and the diamonds fell down." The diamonds, 
worn by Mrs. Camac, were justly celebrated. The Camacs and Briscos are referred 
to continually in the course of the letters, and were considered leaders of Hastings 

On ist September Miss Humphry paid her sister a visit at Broomham. We have 
no letters of hers on this occasion, but one from Marianne to her aunt Rose Woodgate, 
dated 8th September, 1825, sufficiently sets out the circumstance attending this 
event : — 

' ' Fanny left us for Brome Ham yesterday week to make Sir William & Julia 
a visit. This morning I have received a long letter in which she teUs me that she 
received a cordial welcome from Sir William & Julia & that a happier meeting does 
not often occur. Julia is looking remarkably well and appears quite at home in her 
new situation ; there is so much kindness and attention in Sir William that a more 
perfect picture of connubial happiness cannot be witnessed. In consequence of 
several engagements their dinner parties are postponed tiU the present week. 
Tuesday they expected a party of twenty, & the same number on Friday. On 
Friday last they all dined at Battle Abbey with Mr. and Mrs. Camack & a party of 
fourteen ; she adds it was quite a treat to see the House, which is magnificent & fitted 
up in a superb manner. The furniture of the drawing room (with pillars) cost Sir 
Godfrey Webster £5,000. They were agreeably surprized at meeting Mr. and Mrs. 
West's party at Hastings, & you have probably seen Mrs. West e'er this & heard the 
particulars of their visit into Sussex. Report says that Mrs. North is likely to enter 
a second time into the matrimonial state, with a Mr. Wilson, who has a good appoint- 
ment in the Customs house. Our friends at the Grove departed for Hastings on 
Tuesday morning at ten o'clock ; they had taken a house in Waterloo Place, & 
Captain Hardinge started the day before to prepare everything for their arrival." 

Marianne Humphry succeeded her sister at Broomham ; the latter writes from 
Seal, on 9th November : — 
" My dear Julia, 

. . . We were most happy to receive your kind Epistle, the recital of your 
late excursion afforded us much amusement, from which we are happy to find Sir 
William & yourself derived so much enjoyment. Considering the season of the year 
is so far advanced, I do think the weather was most propitious which in seeing a 


new country is always a desirable circumstance. Altho' you did not find Lord & 
Lady Chichester at home, yet your visit to Stanmer may be productive of future 
intercourse with that noble & highly estimable family. Marianne anticipates much 
pleasure from her intended visit to Broomham. . . I am very sorry to hear Mrs. 
Camack has postponed her Ball, fearing it may disappoint us of the pleasure we had 
anticipated of seeing you at Seal at the end of December, I still hope it will take place 
before that time." 

" Broomham, Novr. 13th, 1825. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . Pray give my kind regards to Mary Anne & tell her that as she leaves 
it to us to fix the day, we shall hope to see her at Broomham next Saturday. Sir 
William recommends her to secure a Place by one of the first Hastings Coaches, & 
his Carriage will be in readiness to meet her on Fairlight when the Coach arrives. 
Broomham is really a cold House, I therefore hope Mary Anne will take every pre- 
caution of warm clothing, that her engagements here may not be interrupted by the 
intrusion of colds or any other complaint. Friday is fixed for Sir William's audit 
when the Servants will be all fully engaged. We joined a party of seventy at Miss 
Millwards [d] last Thursday Evening. Mr. & Mrs. West and their Niece were there 
[Frances Woodgate, afterwards Mrs. Musgrave Brisco], Fanny looked very pretty & 
was a good deal admired, but I agree with you in thinking she does not appear to 
advantage in Dancing. I believe the next Ball at Hastings is fixed for the 24th. 
Many new arrivals have taken Place during our absence, & the Fashion of the company 
considerably improved, and I observed several very pretty young women. To 
morrow I believe we are to attend Mrs. Camac's at Home and shall then have no 
other engagements till after Mary Anne's arrival. Sir Willm. is much obliged by 
the Promised plants, the wet weather has been unfavourable for gardening. Sir 
WUliam has had a most satisfactory letter from James ; he writes in high spirits & 
appears delighted with Cambridge ; he expresses the greatest gratitude towards his 
Father, who in addition to the allowance he makes him has aSorded him a Private 
Tutor. We called on Mrs. Guerdon last week, she was looking very delicate but 
considers herself to have derived benefit from her Residence at Hastings. Mr. 
Guerdon was in Suffolk, & Mr. Lambarde was passing a few days with her, his 
Daughter. The cold season appears to have set in unusually early, the walking here 
is very indifferent in consequence of the late Rains, & the Park & Grounds are very 
wet. My Mother's old friend Mr. Gordon is staying at Hastings at the same 
Lodgings we were in last year ; he is in good Health & very cheerful, but totally 
blind. His Daughter Miss Gordon with her Friend Miss Saint were at the Miss 
Millward's Party. I understand the Miss Eyles' are also at Hastings. Mrs. West 
tells me she has been in search of a Lodging for Mrs. Allnutt & Maria, who wish to 
visit Hastings for six weeks, but poor Mrs. Allnutt has had an attack of spasms, 
which will prevent her leaving Home at present. I hope Mrs. Camac's Ball will 
take Place before Xmas that Mary Anne may have an opportunity of attending it." 

The next letter, written on the 8th, refers to the ill health of John Ashburnham 
and Sir William ; the latter soon recovered and resumed his walks to Hastings. 

" Broomham, Deer. 17th, 1825. 
My dear Fanny, 

Mary Anne having left us to pass a few days with Mr. and Mrs. West at Hastings, 
I flatter myself a letter from me will not prove unacceptable to my Dear Mother & 
yourself. I have the satisfaction to inform you that Mrs. John Ashburnham was 
safely confined last night with a fine little girl, & I am happy to add both Mother & 

{d) The Milwards occupied a leading position at Hastings, being one of the old families of the 

place. Their descent appears to be from Edward Milward, Esq., son of Capt. Edward Milward of 
Hastings, who died 29th October, 1749, aged 67, leaving by Elizabeth his wife (who died 31st 
January, 1742, aged 47) a son, John Spencer Milward, Esq., who died in 1760, aged 32. Mary, 
daughter of Capt. E. Milwaid, died in 1753, aged 67. 


child are doing well. You will I know expect some account of our Engagements. 
Our visit to Windmill Hill proved a most agreable one. Mr. H. Curteis is residing 
with his Father. I thought him a good deal altered, & appears by no means to have 
recovered his spirits ; Mr. & Mrs. Curteis were extremely attentive, & gave us a 
pressing Invitation to visit them again. We met a Party of sixteen at Dinner. Miss 
Curteis is a lively agreeable young Woman, & Mary Anne was delighted with her. I 
am grieved to find the last accounts of Lydia Luxford give but faint hopes of her 
Recovery. Last Tuesday we dined at Mrs. Bird's with a small Party ; in the 
Evening all her Rooms were thrown open, when she had an addition of forty more 
visitors. The younger part of the Company amused themselves by dancing Quad- 
rilles. The Miss Birds are pleasant accomplished young women. Wednesday we 
dined with Mr. and Mrs. Stileman, & met Dr. & Mrs. Lamb, the Deane's, Richards's, 
&c. Thursday Evening we attended a Party at Mrs. Fawkes's who is residing in one 
of the best Houses in Wellington Place. There is a great similarity in all the Hastings 
Parties, Quadrilles are the constant amusement of the Evening. At Present a 
scarcity of Beau's prevails but a reinforcement is expected next week when the 
young Men leave the Universities. Mr. & Mrs. West & their Niece are much engaged ; 
Fanny excites much admiration & is considered one of the leading Belle's ; this 
Eveng Mrs. West has her first at Home, which we have promised to attend. A 
rumour has reached us that the New Years Ball at Sevenoaks this year will not take 
Place in consequence of the Dry rot having made such rapid Progress. Mary Anne 
went to Mrs. West on Thursday Evening, and is to return to Broomham oh 
Tuesday when a large Party are to dine there ; we expect Dr. Wellesley 
[brother of the Duke of Wellington], two of his Daughters & Mr. Wellesley, 
two Mr. Briscos, Mrs. Casarlet, Mr. J. Hodges, Dr. Wilmot & his son, our Postern 
Friends, the Miss Birds, Dr. & Mrs. Lamb, Mrs. Wynch & Mr. Wynch. Perhaps I 
should apologise for giving you the trouble of peru^ng so long a list of names, but 
know you are interested in what is going on at Broomham. Mr. J. Dugdale has been 
staying here & at Hastings for the last ten days, but leaves this Evening. I had a 
letter from my Aunt Rose yesterday, she gives a good account of herself & an improved 
ofte of Mrs. J. West." 

At the end of the year Sir William and Lady Ashbumham paid a visit to the 
Revd. Denny Ashbumham, who afterwards wrote his brother a letter from which we 
will quote ; much of it is taken up in a critical appreciation of the music at St. Paul's 
and Westminster Abbey. 

" 27, Upper Marylebone Street, Portland Place. 

Janry. 3rd, 1826. 
Dear Brother, 

Is there no hope of pardon for neglect like this ? None ! stern conscience readily 
replies, except where Christian principles prevail and where the reformation not the 
punishment of the offending party is contemplated. Here then is my hope, here my 
consolation, and here my trust & confidence of reconciliation rest. Now to proceed ! 
Another year, another happy year is gone, happiest in the train of all that's past to 
me, and pray tell Lady Ashbumham that your joint visit to the vicarage stands a 
pleasing & distinguished feature in that happy period. Accept our wishes therefore 
that Lady Ashbumham & yourself may experience similar felicity in this and every 
year to come. 

I presume ere now you have recommenced your ornamental plantations, and girt 
the ancient mansion with the cone-like fur, the sombrous cedar, & the graceful larch, 
and rendered it that which it never was before, the seat of Taste, Intelligence and 

. . . Your recommendations on our musical department have had the desired 
effect of exciting a laudable ambition of improvement, but to what degree I hope a 
future opportunity will offer of hearing your opinion. I am vain enough to imagine 


that we have hit off a new mode of practice, combining both mechanical & scientific 
information wh. I think must naturally accelerate our progress & render it emulative. 

I heard from Mr. Bishop the other day saying that Mr. Cazolet would pay your 
bailiff for the wood he purchased frm. the Glebe. You would obUge and convenience 
me much by allowing him to collect what is due to me for that article & forwarding 
it to Town before the end of this month as I am anxious to purchase a little stock as 
soon as possible. The Mackenzies are gone to Brighton where I expect to see them 
on my return, Mrs. Ashburnham desires her kind Respects to yourself and Lady 
Ashburnham, to whom you will remember me affectionately, and I remain your 
aiiecte. Brother, 

D. Ashburnham. 

Kindest regards to the Rector & his Lady. Pray tell me of your improvements, 

That year saw Sir William involved in serious difficulties, which it is impossible 
to understand with accuracy. It seems that their origin lay in the Rye Harbom- Bill, 
by which the Ashburnham title to a certain estate was compromised. The Bill was 
introduced by Mr. Richard Whitton, and passed in 1830. 

' ' Sussex Hotel, Bouverie Street, Fleet Street. 

April 4th, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

When absent from you, my beloved wife, nothing affords me greater delight 
than to correspond with you by Letter, because I know that everything that relates to 
me or my affairs excites an interest in your fond, your affectionate bosom. I there- 
fore hasten, the moment I returned from Mr. Palmer's, to snatch up my pen to com- 
municate to you the result of our interview, which I am happy to say has turned 
out most satisfactorily, inasmuch as I have every reason to think that I shall be able, 
through Mr. Palmer's kindness, to raise money sufficient to discharge my most 
pressing incumbrances within the space of the present month. The report respecting 
the title to my sheep-house estate is upon the whole rather favourable. Mr. 
Palmer has seen Mr. Green, the Solicitor to the Commissioners of Crown Lands, who 
says, that it is by no means the wish or intention of Government to commence 
vexatious Suits, nor to harrass the Subject. The Commissioners are only desirous 
fairly to ascertain whether the Lands in question do or do not belong to the crown. 
This is very right and proper. Mr. Palmer has promised to send Mr. Green a copy of 
the different grants under which I hold ; and Mr. Palmer thinks that when Mr. Green 
has perused them, he will be of opinion that the crown has no shadow of any claim 
whatsoever to any part of the estate which I possess. 

As I came through Tunbridge I just caught a smile from your sister Fanny, as 
I passed my Aunt's window. My nephew William West met me at the Crown, with 
whom I had a hurried conversation for a few moments. He told me that Wise had 
finished the flower table that I had ordered, and that it was a very well executed 
piece of workmanship. I should have liked to have seen it exceedingly, but had not 
time. I desired that it should be sent immediately to your sister Fanny, who I hope 
will be pleased with my present." 

The letter is extremely long, and contains a descriptive account of the health of 
various friends, which at the time was an interesting subject, but at this distance the 
theme has lost its attraction. There is a good account of the nursery gardens at 
Vauxhall and the theatre at Drury Lane, but the subject is too general for the present 
occasion. The letter affords many striking instances of the affection and esteem the 
author felt for Lady Ashburnham, which is shewn in all his subsequent letters. This 
letter is succeeded by another, dated the 8th April, from the Sussex Hotel : — 

" I understand that the Rye-harbour bill is to be proceeded with next week, 
notwithstanding the serious indisposition with which Mr. Richard Whitton is 
afflicted, his father having undertaken to transact the business in his Son's behalf. 


Mr. Richard Whitton, I am told, lies dangerously ill of a brain fever, which illness is 
supposed to have been occasioned by his having caught cold after having taken 
large dozes of calomel. I wish Mr. Richard Whitton no harm, notwithstanding his 
conduct has been most pernicious and inimical to me ; but the business, perhaps, will 
proceed more smoothly and more amicably now it is conducted by his father." 

The letter further describes Miss Humphry's satisfaction on receiving the rose- 
wood flower table ; and his visit to the exhibition of Associated Artists. He was much 
pleased with Mr. Hutchins the dentist, who supplied the deficiencies amongst his 
teeth with great skill and judgment ; but the charge was no light one, fifteen guineas. 
At that time James West was seriously ill, and fears were entertained even for his life. 
Sir William Ashburnham was himself disturbed by the harassing perplexity of his 
affairs, but the judicious arrangements made by Mr. Palmer relieved him from present 
difficulties. The next few letters are from Lady Ashburnham to Miss Humphry, 
the first dated 14th April, 1825 :— 

' ' Sir William was too unwell to derive any Pleasure from the numerous enter- 
tainments of the Metropolis ; however he summoned sufficient Resolution to attend 
the Society of the Deaf & Dumb on Tuesday. The Duke of Gloucester was in the 
Chair, and he had the Honor of sitting on His Royal Highness' right Hand ; the 
speech he made on giving the Duke's Health has appeared in some of the papers, but 
he says it is given very incorrectly & much distorted by the Reporters. Sir Willm. 
was very glad to reach Home ; from being so much indisposed he found the Hotel 
so extremely uncomfortable that he thinks he never can venture to London again 
alone. ... Sir Wm. thought my Brother [William Ozias Humphry, of the 
Council Office] looking very ill ; he mentioned that he had been appointed to Mr. 
Litchfield's situation, but from his Illness had been prevented taking Possession of 
his new office. He has notwithstanding the most serious Intentions of retiring, & 
thinks from his long services he shld obtain a Pension of a thousand a year. Sir 
William has at last succeeded in matching his Horse, and we are going this morning 
to take a drive to Hastings." 

" Broomham, April 23rd, 1825. 
My dear Fanny, 

... I can scarcely confess the concern I feel for the lamented Illness of Mrs. Caroline 
Hardinge. By a kind letter I received from Maryanne yesterday we learnt that the 
last accounts were rather more favourable, altho' it is greatly to be apprehended from 
the nature of her disorder there is little hope of ultimate Recovery. Her loss to her 
Relations and Friends, by all of whom, from her many virtues and excellent qualities, 
she is justly held in such high estimation, must be most deeply regretted, and really to 
my dear Mother the deprivation she will experience in the loss of the kindest of 
Friends is almost irreparable. I feel much for our dear Friend Caroline, whose 
situation at this time must be painfully distressing . . . 

Sir William is a good deal occupied at this time. This week Mr. Rately a 
surveyor at Hastings is coming to Broomham to inspect the house, & Sir Willm's 
operations here will be in some measure decided by his opinion. We have had several 
offers of cooks, but only one that is at all eligible. She stated that her native place was 
Romney, that she had hved as Cook in the Family of several Gentlemen whom she 
named for two and three years each, & that she perfectly understood the management 
of a Dairy, Poultry, & every branch of cooking. Her last place was at the great Inn 
at Sittingbourne, where she had hved two years and a half, & entertained no doubt 
of her mistress giving her a good character. She came to Broomham last Thursday 
& I promised to let her know o\xr determination in a Week, as it is a Responsible 
situation. I shd. have preferred engaging a Person of whom we had some previous 
knowledge & who could have referred me to a Gentleman's Family for her Character, 
altho her appearance & manner were most respectable, & she mentioned having 
several Brothers in service, the eldest of whom has hved with Mr. Henries of Montreal 
for eight years as a Butler." 


Mrs. Hardinge died on the 23rd. In addition to the difficulties brought about 
by the Rye Harbour Bill, the Ashburnhams found themselves at the same time 
troubled by one of an almost equally serious nature, the condition of Broomham. 
The house, in some parts at least, was many hundreds of years old, and 
had not been repaired when repairs were needed ; this policy of procrastination 
nearly effected the ruin of the whole, but the letters explain everything. 
^ ' My dear Fanny, 

Altho' in some measure prepared for the mournful event your letter of yesterday 
announced, yet the sad intelligence of the death of Mrs. Caroline Hardinge occasioned 
me a painful shock. The Loss of so excellent a Friend to my dear Mother and your- 
selves must long be felt. All her friends must be consoled by the Reflexion of so 
many virtues. She closed her earthly career with the Love and Respect of all 
around her, & is removed by a merciful Providence without Pain & Suffering to a 
happier state of existence. From the great affection our dr. Friend Caroline enter- 
tained for her Aunt & the alteration it makes in her situation, she must feel most 
acutely on this melancholy occasion. My Aunt's Recovery is really wonderful ; how 
did she support parting with you ? I hope Maryanne will derive much pleasure 
from her intended visit to London ; when the time is fix'd I shall be much obliged to 
her to give me a line, as I wish for an opportunity of conveying some little tokens of 
Remembrance to our young Friends [her brother's children] in Charlotte Street. 

I have deplorable Intelligence to communicate with Regard to the state of Broom- 
ham. After Mr. Rately had minutely examined and inspected the whole of the 
Building, he gave it as his decided opinion that the whole of the structure was in a 
totally irreparable state. From the circumstance of the Rain having penetrated the 
Roof, & so many different parts of the House, for such a number of years, the Surveyors 
are of opinion that the Principal Timbers which unite the House are so much 
decayed, that any money laid out on Repairs would be entirely useless, & likewise 
gave it as their opinion that the house would not much longer be a safe Habitation. 
From the high value Sir Willm. has always maintained for the Residence of his 
ancestors, this Intelligence was as you may imagine a great shock to him, but I am 
happy to say has supported it with great firmness of mind like a true Philosopher, & 
has been turning his attention to whether it will be more desirable to erect a new 
Mansion or to hire a Residence for a term of years within a moderate distance of his 
Estates ; this morning he has been sketching a plan for a new house but what he will 
fix upon on more mature deliberation is quite uncertain & it would not be prudent to 
decide on Building tiU our affairs are finally settled. We took a drive to Hastings on 
Wednesday, when I had a second interview with the Servant I mentioned in my last 
letter. . . . To-morrow must be a melancholy day for Seal, I shall often thmk of you." 

Caroline Hardinge (junior) had for many years lived with her Aunts at the 
Grove ; and on the death of the survivor of them, established her headquarters 
at Pembury Vicarage, with her sister Mrs. Stephen Woodgate. When the household 
was broken up, the cook (Anne Richardson) went to Broomham ; a few particulars 
of her duties may prove interesting. She was to have no perquisites, but fixed wages, 
which in a former letter were estimated at about ^^18, which in those days must have 
been considered high ; tea and sugar for the kitchen consumption were to be con- 
trolled by the cook. The scullery work was conducted by the dairy maid, who 
likewise managed the poultry under the superintendence of Mrs. Holmes. The 
Surveyors' report of Broomham must have been exaggerated ; but that genuine 
apprehension prevailed is shewn by Mrs. James West's declining an invitation, 
owing to the supposed dangerous state of the house. 

'"Broomham, May 7th, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

I was very anxious to receive some Intelligence of our dear Friend Caroline 
Hardinge ; she must deeply feel the separation from her beloved and excellent aunt, 


but sincerely hope she will derive much comfort from a future Residence with her 
sister. Sir Willm. will be much obliged to you to inform him if the horses belonging 
to the late Mrs. Hardinge are to be disposed of by auction or private contract and 
whether they were found to answer her purpose ; if by private contract, what price 
would be expected. He wishes his name not to be mentioned, being uncertain 
whether it would suit him to make the Purchase at this time. I must request 
Maryanne to remember me very kindly to our Friends in Charlotte Street, and to give 
my nephews William & Richard five shillings each and my little god-daughter a. Soyereiga 
as a remembrance from me, the sovereign for Julia either to be laid out in some 
article or given in money as she deems most desirable. You will recollect five 
pounds was owing to me from my Uncle Stephen's Legacy, I believe I mentioned to 
you when at Tunbridge the manner in which I wished this sum to be disposed of. 
I imagine Maryanne will visit the Exhibition ; Sir Willm. is anxious to hear her 
Opinion of Sir Thomas Lawence's admired Picture of Miss Murray, of which Fams 
speaks so highly. A Family of Spanish refugees of Noble Family have been at 
Hastings for some time ; I understand they excel much at Embroidery, and have just 
completed a beautiful Reticule, which is to be played for by 24 members at ten 
shillings each ; at the solicitation of Miss Bird we have taken 2 tickets, it is to be 
decided next Friday or Saturday when we are Invited by Mrs. Bird to a dejeuner a la 
Fourchette. Sir Willm. has hitherto come to no decision with regard to his House, 
but thinks he should find the erecting a new House too considerable an undertaking. 
We are engaged on Wednesday to dine at Winchelsea with Capt. & Mrs. Wright." 

Sir William's health suffered a great relapse soon afterwards, and occasioned 
a somewhat prolonged visit to Seal, to recuperate ; we owe to this circumstance a 
letter from John Ashburnham, who sent an ample account of how things were 
going on at Broomham in their absence. The next letter was three days after their 
return, when Sir William was decidedly better. 

' ' Broomham, Sunday Afternoon, June i8th, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

Sir William much regrets there being a contested Election for this County. Sir 
Godfrey Webster at present heads Curteis on the poll, & he fears he shall be called on 
to exert himself for his Friend, which at Present his Health is unequal to. I have 
written to Mrs. James West to invite her Daughters to Broomham next week. We 
find Mr. Ray visited Hastings during our absence, therefore Sir Willm. must wait for 
his Opinion till he returns, which will probably be in about a fortnight. We were 
delighted with the Improvements that three weeks had made in the scenery here, the 
Geraniums in the Hall are in the most brilliant Bloom & exceed in beauty & variety 
any plants we saw at Wilderness. I do wish you could see them. Mrs. Holmes left 
Broomham Friday ; she was much affected at parting, which was to be expected, 
having had a comfortable Home here for nine & twenty years. Our new servant 
appears to suit us extremely well." 

The next letter is edged with black in consequence of her brother's death. It 
seems that his widow was left without any pension, and applications through Lord 
Camden and Lord Harrowby were made to obtain one, which eventually proved 

" Broomham, July 21st, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

I hope you have heard favorable Intelligence from Town, we are very anxious 
to hear the result of the application to Ld. Harrowby. Our young visitors appear to 
enjoy themselves very much. I am agreeably surpriz'd in your Namesake, we find 
her extremely conformable to our wishes in all respects : her manners require a little 
polishing, but I think her a sensible, clever Girl. Alicia has all the hilarity and good 
humour of youth & looks forward to entering society with the utmost pleasure. 
Major and Mrs. Mackenzie are now staying at Iden, we expect a morning visit from 


them every day ; they are going shortly to make an Excursion to Paris & on their 
return have promised to pass a week at Broomham. A Ball is to take place at 
Battle next Friday at which Sir G. Prescott, Sir Charles Lamb, &c., are to act as 
Stewards. We met Sir G. & Lady Prescott at Hastings last week who expressed 
themselves anxious for us to attend, but Sir William declines attending all Public 
meetings on account of his Health. Mr. Richard Whitton died at Rye last week ; he 
had a most alarming brain Fever in the Spring from which he was supposed to be 
recovered & came to Rye during the Intense heat where he was seized with a Relapse 
& expired shortly afterwards. We went to Hastings yesterday & paid a visit to 
Dr. & Mrs. Knox ; the Doctor has been very little there, & was going to Town again 
in a day or two, but they have promised to take a family Dinner at Broomham 
before they leave this neighbourhood. I have sent you a Receipt for Ginger Beer, 
it is made with little trouble & I think my Mother & Maryanne would find it very 
refreshing in hot weather. It is Sir WiUm's. favorite Beveridge. We are going 
to-day to take a Family Dinner with Mrs. J. Ashbmrnham." 

The recipe is as follows : — 

To two oz. of cream of tartar add i oz. of ginger bruised, i pd. of sugar, & one 
lemmon juice & peel, pour on them 4 quarts of boiling water. When at a proper 
heat add two spoonfuls of yeast. When cold, strain it, bottle it in half-pint stone 
Bottles & tye the corks down. It will be ready to drink in 12 hours." 

This recipe is one of many scores, or hundreds, that have survived, many of 
them being old cooking recipes that were used at Mountfield. 

'* Broomham, August 19th, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

Mr. D. Ashburnham with his Friend Dr. Cope and James West came to us on 
Thursday for the purpose of being present at the Public Dinner which was given to 
Mr. Curteis by the Freeholders of Sussex. It took place yesterday at Northiam, 
about one hundred & fifty gentlemen & Freeholders dined together, & the day passed 
off extremely well. Sir Wm. was in the Chair, & I understand the conduct of 
the Chairman gave universal satisfaction ; the speeches he made after proposing the 
toasts were much applauded, & he was most cordially cheered by all the Party on leaving 
the Chair, Mrs. Mascall invited me to meet her brother's Family, Mrs. Hodges 
of Hemstead, & a party of Ladies who were to assemble to witness the scene, but the 
carriage being pre-engaged to the gentlemen I was obliged to decline. Mr. D. Ash- 
burnham & his Friend Dr. Cope left us this Morning, Dr. Cope is a most agreeable & 
sensible Man. We have just had a visit from Mr. Mrs. & Miss Curteis & Mrs. & 
Miss Mascall." 

The toasts on this occasion, in Sir Ws'. owti handwriting, number no less than 
sixteen ; the three first are the usual loyal toasts, the fourth and fifth are ' ' Edward 
Jeremiah Curtis Esqf., one of the Knights of the Shire for the County of Sussex," 
and " His worthy co-adjutor, Walter Burrel Esqr." Some of the other toasts 
could have been prepared by none other than Sir William, such as ' ' The Liberty of 
the press, and may it never again be polluted by blasphemy or stained by sedition," 
and ' ' may the distressed working manufacturers receive the best species of relief, 
that which is bestowed through the medium of employment." 

The next week Mary Anne Humphry came to Broomham with her maid Char- 
lotte, for the shower baths and treatment ; nearly half the succeeding letter is 
occupied with a discussion of her ailments. 

* ' Broomham, August 25th, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

We are very anxious for the continuance of fine weather as Broomham 
is to be unroofed next week ; the summer has been so favorable that I regret 
it has not been done at an earlier period of the year, but hope the autumnal 


rains will not set in till after the equinox. Sir WiUm. is also at this time 
building a Kitchen Garden. We have for some time been engaged to dine with Mrs. 
Mascall ; next Wednesday we are to sleep at Iden, & Dr. & Mrs. Lamb having only 
one spare Bed it will not be in our power to take Maryanne with us, but I shall give 
Charlotte a strict charge not to leave her during our absence. I was glad to hear so 
good an account of Mrs. Wm. Humphry, I think she must enjoy the Country this 
Hot Weather. Pray thank Richard for his Drawing & tell him I'm happy to find he 
is so good a Boy. James West left me on Thursday, he is to finish his visit next 
month. I had a letter yesterday from Alicia, & I have the satisfaction to say she 
gives a better account of my Aunt Rose." 

" Broomham, Septr. 6th, 1826. 
My dear Mother, 

Broomham is at present in a most uncomfortable state. The Repair of the Roof 
having commenced, the late rains have completely deluged all the Rooms in the 
Front of the House ; the Drawing Room with the apartments over it & our Bed 
Room are entirely saturated with the wet, & I am doubtful whether we shall be able 
to inhabit them again during the winter. However, we trust if the Weather is toler- 
ably favourable that the North side of the House will be secured by the end of next 
week. Sir Willm. & myself regret exceedingly not having it in our power to invite 
yourself & Fanny to Broomham this Autumn, but we have at present only one Bed 
Room that we can depend on as being secure from the Rain, & therefore most 
reluctantly must defer this Pleasure till some more propitious opportunity. We spent 
a most agreeable day at Mrs. Mascall's, Mr. & Mrs. Constable & their Daughter were of 
the Party ; they made many kind enquiries after you. The long Drought which has 
prevailed during the summer has produced an Epidemic Fever in this Neighbourhood, 
which has proved very fatal at Winchelsea. Mrs. Hollingbery died of this disorder 
about ten days ago." 

The next letter was written declining an invitation to Seal. 

' ' Broomham, Sepr. 13th, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

The repairs of Broomham are this week going on most prosperously. Ten men 
are at present occupied on the Roof of the House, in addition to which Sir William is 
at this time Building a Wall-Garden, therefore you cannot be surprized that Sir Wm. 
should wish to remain at Home to superintend the Improvements, which we hope 
wOl be compleated by the middle of next month, when we look forward with much 
pleasure to making my Mother a visit. Henry Woodgate [afterwards Canon 
Woodgate of Belbroughton] is staying at Hastings & performed part of the Duty 
there last Sunday. Sir Wm. would be exceedingly obliged to my Mother to lend 
him Pott's translation of Vergil & would esteem it a great Favor if you wd pack 
them carefully and send them to him as soon as convenient by one of the Hastings 
coaches. He has translated the first Book of Vergil, & wishes much to compare it 
with Pott's. The Theatre at Hastings is lately opened, Dowton has been performing 
there several nights. The Races are to take place to-morrow. The change in the 
Weather has operated favourably on the Fever which has been so prevalent in this 
part of the country. Mr. Stileman's Family have aU been great sufferers from this 
complaint, but have I understand all left Winchelsea for change of air." 

' ' Broomham, Octr. i8th, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

Last Monday we dined with Mrs. Camac & met Sir Charles Lamb & Lady 
Montgomery with a party of fom-teen at Dinner. Mrs. Camac's Evening Routs 
commenced on this day, when she had a large & most agreeable Assembly. We have 
seen a good deal of our Friends at Tunbridge ; Mr. & Mrs. Hardinge with Mrs. 
Callender passed a long Morning at Broomham to-day, they appear to enjoy the 
gayeties of Hastings extremely, they intend leaving Hastings next Monday in conse- 
quence of Mr. Pearson being about to quit the curacy of Tunbridge. The Play we 


patronized passed off extremely well : there was a very good House, altho' the audience 
was not quite so numerous or fashionable as last year. Mr. & Mrs. West & Fanny 
Woodgate have been at Hastings for a few days, they very obligingly join'd our 
Party. Mr. Brisco & Mr. Musgrave sat in the same Box with them. Mr. West has 
engaged Poel's Lodgings for three months, the Ladies appear to anticipate the 
greatest pleasure from passing another Winter at Hastings. The Hastings Balls 
commenced yesterday sen' night ; the first was numerously attended, our Tunbridge 
Friends were there & appeared to derive much Pleasure from the Evening Amusements, 
but I shall defer giving you the Particulars of the Partys & News of this Neighbour- 
hood till we meet. The walls of the Garden were completed yesterday & to-day we 
are going to a nursery garden near Rye in search of Fir Trees. James West left us on 

Early the following month the Ashburnhams paid their visit to Seal, and 
despatched the following letter on their return. 

" Broomham, Deer. 3rd, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

We were much concerned to hear of my Aunt Rose's Indisposition. Sir William 
had a long letter from his Sister last Thursday in which she stated that Mr. Morris had 
attended my Aunt & that she was then better ; he considered her in a state of extreme 
Debility, tho' not in immediate Danger. I have the satisfaction to inform you that 
Mr. J. Ashburnham is recovering from a severe Illness ; Mr. Wynch performed the 
Service at Guestling to-day. Mr. & Mrs. West & Miss Woodgate took a Family 
Dinner here on Friday, they tell me they have had many Engagements. Hastings is 
at this time very full of good Company. Mrs. Camac has issued Cards of Invitation 
for a grand Ball on the 28th. Sir William has taken a Horse to-day on Trial for a 
week. Wednesday we are engaged to dine with Mr, & Mrs. Shadwell & we think of 
attending the Ball on Thursday Eveng. Yesterday we had a visit from the Bride & 
Bridegroom, Mr. & Mrs. H. Wynch, who have been returned to Pett about a week. 
Mrs. H. Wynch is by no means handsome, but very genteel & pleasing in her manners. 
We intend having a Dinnei Party next week, in order to give them an early Invitation. 
Miss Carpenter called on Mrs. West a few days ago, when she took an opportunity of 
imparting to her the numerous offers by which she had been solicited, & that it was in 
consequence of her own cruelty that she remained Miss Carpenter. While on this 
subject I must mention that Dr. Burgess has a Patient in the person of poor Baron 
Wolfe, who has met with a fall returning from a Party. I hear the Ladies of Hastings 
are much interested in the Baron's Recovery & frequently pay him a Visit. Having 
been entirely at Home of late my Work has gone on well, but I shall be very thankful 
for yours and Maryanne's kind contributions. I have made my Morng gown 
which has been much admired. 

P.S. Monday Morng. I have just received your kind Letter & we were most 
exceedingly grieved by the most distressing account it contained of the Health of my 
dr. Aunt Rose ; she has passed a long & valuable Life & her loss will be deeply felt 
whenever it pleases Providence to withdraw her from this state of existence. Pray 
remember us to her most affectionately. We shall wait with great anxiety for yr. 
next letter & intend putting off all our Engagements." 

Rose Woodgate grew worse, and her life must have been despaired of at the date 
of the next letter, which contains many inquiries and reflections that we are compelled 
to omit. 

' ' Broomham, Deer. 20th, 1826. 
My dear Fanny, 

Sir William dines at Hastings this Eveng with Mr. & Mrs. West, & I cannot 
employ the interval of his absence in a more satisfactory manner to myself than by 
addressing a letter to you. I hope poor little Richard is better. I was happy to 
find our nephew Wilham is at Seal as he wiU be a companion to Maryanne in her 
Morning walks. I understand James is expected at Hastings to-day, I hope we shall 


have the pleasure of seeing him at Broomham. Last Thursday we had a Party 
to dine with us, the Invitations having been sent before we received your first 
Letter announcing the lamentable Illness of my poor Aunt, & Sir William did not like 
to decline receiving his Friends, thinking it probable mj^ Aunt might continue in her 
present state with little fluctuations for a considerable time. I understand Hastings 
is fuU of company & gayer than ever, two or three Parties taking place every Evening. 
We have had several Invitations but I have Declined going into Company at present. 
Mrs. Camac very obligingly invited you and Maryanne to her Xmas BaU which I 
consider a particular compliment knowing she has a dread of a superfluity of Ladies, 
& not having had it in our power to attend one of her Monday Evening Parties this 
year ; to-morrow Eveng there is to be a Ball to which Mrs. J. Ashburnham is tq 
accompany Mr. & Mrs. Richards. I have great pleasure in saying that Mr. J. 
Ashburnham is very much Recovered. 

Wednesday Momg. Mr. & Mrs. West's Dinner Party yesterday amounted to 
ten in number, & in the Eveng they had the addition of twenty more visitors. James 
breakfasted with us this Morning ; he is I think grown stouter & looking remarkably 
weU, he is gone to Winchelsea on a coursing Party with some gentlemen from 
Hastings, It would afford me the sincerest pleasure to hear that a Provision was 
made by Government for Mrs. Wm, Humphrey, I think Lord Camden's Letter gives 
it a favourable appearance." 

Rose Woodgate died on January ist, 1827, and the Ashburnhams attended the 
funeral. They started after an early dinner at Broomham, and arrived about eight 
o'clock in the evening. Owing to the death of the Duke of York, they had the utmost 
difficulty in procuring mourning in time for the occasion. They passed one night 
at Tonbridge and a week at Seal ; but the return journey was not so fortunate, cis one 
of the carriage horses was injured on the way to meet them, and they were obliged to 
leave it at the Inn and take post horses the whole way. 

One of the letters written on Rose Woodgate's death was from her nephew, 
George William Ashburnham, to Miss Humphry, at Seal, which wiU serve as a specimen 
of his style. 

"3, Denmark Place [Hastings], Jany. 14th, 1827. 
My dear Madam, 

It was with no less Gratitude than Surprise that I read your obliging letter of the 
nth inst — gratitude for my Dear Aunt's kindness to me through life, and surprise at 
this last unexpected act of kindness (her Legacy) of which I assure you I never had 
the most distant expectation or hope, but which I shaU ever hold in respectful and 
Dutiful remembrance. I am now at a loss to proceed ! but, before I stay my hand, 
which is unable to guide my pen to rehearse in adequate language the praise Due to 
our Departed Friend, I must take leave to say, I believe never mortal quitted this 
world with better hopes of an Immortal and an Eternal Felicity than she has. 

I am extremely happy to hear my Aunt Humphry is so well, pray give my best 
respects to her and thank her for her kindness on this, as well as on all former Occa- 
sions. I also beg my best regards to yourself and Sister, and remain. Dear Madam, 
wishing you all every happiness here and hereafter, your most affectionate Cousin, 

G. Wm. Ashburnham." 

Denny Ashburnham, too, writes to Miss Humphry on the same occasion. 

' * Upper Marylebone Street, Portland place, 
Janry. 15th, 1827. 
My dear Madam, 

Your kind favour was delivered immediately on my arrival in Town, but at too 
late an hour to admit of its being answered by return of post. 

I feel very grateful to my late respected Aunt Rose for her kind and handsome 
remembrance, indeed I always associate that venerated name with dear Mountfield, 
with every thing that is amiable, with every thing that can render this life rationally 

happy. Mrs. Ashburnham begs to unite with me her sincere thanks for your kind 
sohcitude for the children whom I am most happy to be able to say are now perfectly 
recovered from their severe Illness. Will you oblige me by mentioning to my 
Brother that I shall probably remain in Town till the 26th of next month ? . . . " 

The Revd. John Ashburnham (who on the same occasion writes in somewhat 
similar terms) suffered so much from bad health that he was compelled to undertake a 
journey to town to consult Dr. Latham, of Harley Street, and was accompanied by 
his wife and eldest boy ; the other children were left with his brother at Broomham. 
They arrived about the 15 th February, and at first stayed at Golden Cross (near 
Charing Cross), but afterwards took rooms at 13, Tichborne Street, Haymarket. 
Mrs. Ashburnham writes from Golden Cross on the i8th February to Lady Ashburn- 
ham with reference to a visit she had paid to her relatives in Marylebone Street : — 

' ' Mr. Denny Ashburnham I am sorry to say is suffering from a severe cold, and 
unluckily he had two Duties to perform to-day. Mary I regret to say was gone to 
School, therefore I was disappointed by not seeing her ; the other little girl is entirely 
recovered from her late illness, they are returning to Ditchling in about ten days and 
their engagements prevent them from accepting Mrs. James West's invitation to 
spend a few days at Tunbridge next week. John Piers is quite reconciled to London, 
in fact he is much pleased with it, & delighted with this situation ; he amuses himself 
by looking out of the window, and by writing Letters to yourself & his Sisters." 

A second letter from Mrs. Ashburnham gives a favourable account of the 
consultation, in which she adds : — 

"We have got a very comfortable lodging consisting of a Drawing room & two 
Bed Rooms communicating with each other on the same floor, which we find 
extremely convenient. The situation is also good, it being just at the end of 
Quadrant Regent Street. John Piers can see the Horseguards go up & down 
the street from the Window which he is delighted with, indeed he is more pleased 
with the soldiers than any thing in London Can you tell me if Miss Hollingbury is 
in Town & where she is ? I should like to see her if she is in Town. Mr. Denny 
introduced Miss Mary to us yesterday ; I was much pleased with her, she is a very 
nice pretty good-tempered Child. We are just going with Mr. Denny to the Bazaar 
in Baker Street where I hope to get my little Fanny her Doll & Cradle which I 
understand she is extremely anxious for. I should like to see the dear Children 
exceedingly, I beg you to kiss them for me & tell Fanny she may depend on having 
her Doll & Cradle. I always give you a specimen of my bad writing. I do not know 
how it is, but I am sure to write particularly ill whenever I have the pleasure of 
addressing you. With our united kind regards to Sir William & yourself I am, my 
Dear Lady Ashburnham, yours most affectionately, 

March 5th, 1827. Fanny Ashburnham." 

It was intended to place John Piers Ashburnham at a preparatory school in the 
neighbourhood of London early in the following spring. Mr. Ashburnham returned 
completely cured of his ague at the end of March. 

To return however to the Broomham family. 

' ' Broomham, Febry. 12th, 1827. 
My dear Fanny, 

I saw Mrs. West at Hastings one Morning before her departure, who informed me 
that she had derived more benefit from following Mr. Scott's advice than that of any 
other medical man she had ever consulted, Sir William is very much obliged to my 
Mother for sending him " Warburton's Essay on Pope " the perusal of which affords 
him much interest. Mr. Cubit came to Broomham last Friday, when he inspected the 
house, &c.; he appeared fully to enter into Sir William's views on the subject of making 
every alteration in the most economical manner, & by no means Recommends 
extensive Repairs & considers that the old Mansion may be rendered a very comfort- 

able Residence by some judicious Improvements. Mr. Cubit is to send Sir William the 
end of this week a contract for the proposed alterations, and should this prove as 
satisfactory as his visit, the works are to be begun in Town immediately & the work- 
men are to commence their operations here on the sixteenth of April. Whilst on this 
subject I must mention that the wainscoting in the Dining Room is to be repaired & 
to be painted of an Oak colour. We were extremely glad to hecir of the safe con- 
finement of Mrs. Francis Woodgate, the arrival of the little Girl must have been 
most welcome. The Death of Mrs. Johnes is greatly regretted at Hastings, we hear 
the House there is left to her nephew Coll. Johnes ; I wish Anna Woodgate may 
have a Legacy, but we have not heard it mentioned in this Neighbourhood. Hastings 
has thinned a good deal in the last fortnight. We intend going to Mrs. Camac's this 
Evening, as it is conjectured her Parties for the season will close to-night. We hear 
a matrimonial Engagement has taken place between Mr. St. Quinten & Miss Georgiana 
Wellesley. Pray tell Anne Nouaille how much I admire the screens she so kindly 
presented me with when at Hastings. We dined at Mr. Stileman's last Wednesday & 
met a Party of sixteen composed chiefiv of the Rye Neighbourhood,with the exception 
of Mr. Wynch & Mrs. H. Wynch. 

Tuesday Morning. Mrs. Camac had rather a large & a very pleasant party last 
night. It passed off so agreeably that she talks of giving two more before she goes to 
Town. Ld. Graves & his three daughters were present. Mr. Camac is just recovered 
from a fit of the gout ; they were particularly attentive & invited us to join some of 
their parties in Mansfield St. Mr. Musgrave Brisco was one of the Party last 
night. He was in good Spirits. If he has experienced a second disappointment he 
hears it well. A great change has taken place in the company at Hastings ; with the 
exception of a few of the Residents, the Company last night was composed of nearly 
all strangers to us. Sir Wilham is going to walk to Hastings. I must therefore 

At the end of February Mr. Palmer was expected at Broomham, but as he did 
not arrive, it was supposed that he was able to prosecute Sir William's business in 
London. Lady Ashburnham writes to her sister with reference to Rose Woodgate's 
affairs : — 

' ' Broomham, Febry. 27th, 1827. 

If my Mother & yourselves have no Intention at any period of making the House 
at Tunbridge a Residence, perhaps it would be most adviseable to sell it before it is 
Repaired. Sir William finds his Bills for the alterations he has already made at 
Broomham amount to more than he expected. Mr. Cubit's contract is much higher 
than he expected, & this contract is only for repairing the Front of the House, & from 
these estimates I do not think my Mother wd complete the enlarging & repairing the 
House at Tunbridge for less than a thousand Pounds. I am happy to find your new 
Neighbours at the Grove [Sir Alexander Crichton's family] are likely to prove so 
great an acquisition to your Society. We attended Mrs. Camac's Party last night 
which was very numerous & splendid. Sir Charles Lamb & Lady Montgomery, 
Ld. Grave's Family, most of the Residents «& all the most select company now at 
Hastings were there. The mourning is left off for the late Duke of York, & the 
Room had a most gay appearance. I have purchased & made a black satten Dress, 
which / sported last Night. Mrs. Millward was present, attired in black Velvit & 
looking pretty well. It is the first Party she has joined since the Death of her 
Brother. Mr. Musgrave Brisco danced the whole Eveng & appeared in excellent spirits. 
Miss St. Quinten is returned to Hastings & looking more beautiful than last year. 
We left the Rooms at eleven o'clock when the Party were Dancing with much spirit. 
A copy of verses has lately made its appearance in Hastings, the Author unknown. 
Mrs. Camac as being the leading character of the Place is spoken of in terms of high 
Flattery, but so much Irony is expressed that it is probably intended as a complete 
Satire on this Lady. However she passes it off extremely well. The little eccentri- 
cities of the poor Miss Millwards are mentioned with much severity ; altogetherji^it 


displays more ill-nature than wit. I intend copying them thinking they wUl amuse 
you & Maryanne. I am told another copy of verses taking in more Characters & 
more severe than the former are in circulation, but these I have not yet seen. I had 
a Letter from Caroline Hardinge on Friday to request me to execute some commis- 
sions for her at Hastings, she was expecting to receive a summons every day to the 
Christening of Sir Henry's little Girl. Have you heard any further intelligence 
respecting Mrs. W. Humphry's affairs ? The papers have spoken of Ld. Harrowby 
as being likely to succeed Lord Liverpool. Should he be appointed Premier, I hope it 
may be a favorable circumstance." 

The next letter mentions Rose Woodgate's best bed which was given by Mrs. 
Humphry to Lady Ashburnham. 

" Broomham, Tuesday Evening [14th March, 1827]. 
My dear Fanny, 

Maryanne 's Letter accompanied with the Catologue of the Furniture belonging 
to the late Sir Rd. Hardinge reached us last night. Sir Willm. considers it so good 
an opportunity for the purchase of Furniture that he has determined on attending 
the sale, & for this purpose he intends going to Sundridge to-morrow. It is his 
present intention to pass two Nights at Seal with my Mother & Maryanne & to 
return to Broomham Friday evening. You may possibly see him in the coach, I 
feel extremely obliged by my Dear Mother's kind offer of the Bed, & if you are sure it 
is not wanted at Seal, it would prove extremely acceptable at Broomham. The only 
conveyance here for large articles is Tylden Smith's Battle & Hastings Waggon, 
which passes thro' Tunbridge Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays. We think Ld. 
Harrowby's letter to Mrs. Wm. Humphry does great credit to his Lordship's feelings, 
most sincerely do I hope his Patronage may be attended with a favorable Decision. 
I am glad to hear your arrangements with Mr. Palmer are going on in so satisfactory 
a manner. I really think if an advantageous offer should occur, it would be desirable 
for my Mother to dispose of her Shares in the Moat Farm, which if sold would lessen 
her trouble & add to her Income. Do you not think it would be desirable for Mr. 
Palmer to ascertain at the Bank in what manner our late Father's Funded Property 
stands there, by which means my Mother will know what part of it is at her own disposal . 
I just mention this, thinking it might not occur to you. Last Friday we dined with 
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Wynch, & met a very agreeable Party. Mrs. H. Wynch is a most 
pleasing young Woman & appears to particular advantage at her own House. During 
Mr. Ashburnham's absence the duty has been remarkably well performed by Mr. 
Hodges, who excels much in his Profession. Do you expect a visit from Caroline 
Hardinge this Spring ? By her desire I have ordered to be worked for her at Hastings 
an exceedingly handsome Dress with three flounces and a heading of work ; the price 
is to be two Guineas. Poor Mrs. Denne is in the last stage of a Dropsy ; she was so 
extremely 111, it was thought she would not have survived last week. To-day we 
hear she is a little better, but without a prospect of permanent amendment. We 
dine on Friday with Mr. & Mrs. G. Ash, I hope Sir Wm. will return soon enough to 
join the Party. I am much concerned to hear you are to lose your valuable & 
agreeable neighbours at Godden. Being nr eleven o'clock I must conclude." 

Sir WHliam's proceedings at the sale are best recounted in his own words. He was 
unable to obtain at the second day's sale any of the lots that he had decided upon, 
namely Lot 212, Lot 265, a magnificent eight-light Grecian lustre which hung in 
the drawing room and sold for 24 guineas, two guineas beyond his own bid ; and 
Lot 266, a brilliant chimney glass, 54 inches by 29, which sold for 17 guineas, two 
guineas in excess of his bid. 

' ' Seal, March 15th, 1827. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . . I bought Lot 108, consisting of a set of ten, and two elbow, mahogany 
chairs covered with scarlet morocco, for thirteen pounds ten Shillings. I likewise 
purchased Lot 113, an eight-light Grecian lustre (which hung in the dining parlour) 


for ten pounds ten shillings. I do not know whether either you or I will be ulti- 
mately satisfied with my purchases, but the whole sum I have given for them is so 
moderate that I think I cannot have done essentially wrong. The dining room chairs 
have certainly been made many years, and the morocco is in some degree discoloured 
by time, but the sum I have given for them is so small that I am of opinion they 
cannot fail to be useful as supplementary chairs, even if we should determine that 
they are not good enough for best. The Grecian lustre (though very inferior to that 
which hangs in the Drawingroom) I consider extremely handsome, & I was tempted 
by the low price to purchase it under the idea of hanging it up in my dining room, 
which when it is painted of an oak colom* cannot have too much light. . . , Soon 
after I had passed through Riverhead I was overtaken by Mr. Petley, who very 
obligingly conveyed me in his carriage to Sundridge ; in consequence of this 
fortunate occurrence I arrived exactly at the very moment when the dining room chairs 
were put up for sale. ... At Sundridge I met Mr. Francis Lipscombe and Mr. 
Manning of Combe-bank {e), with the latter of whom I recommenced my acquaintance. 
I enquired after Mrs. Lipscombe [formerly Sarah Woodgate of RiverhUl], and 
was happy to find that she is quite well. I was glad also to learn that Mrs. 
Henry Woodgate of River-hiU is considerably improved in health. . ." 

The letter concludes with the following sentence : ' ' The pen I have had to 
write with is so bad, that I am afraid you will find my Letter hardly legible." Every 
word, every letter, is formed with faiiltless accuracy, and the whole is a production 
of which any person of the present day might be supremely, and justifiably, proud. 
It is, however, a trifle inferior to some of Sir William's writing, which in general is 
fully equal to copy hand. Here be it said that the knowledge gained by the present 
generation is too often acquired at the expense of the simpler but very necessary 
accomplishment of good writing ; in nearly every instance, the writing shewn by the 
old letters is far, very far superior to that of the present day. 

The bed arrived about the same time as the articles purchased at Sir Richard 
Hardinge's sale. 

' ' Broomham, Sunday Eveng. 
My dear Fanny, March 25th, 1827. 

. . . I am truly rejoiced to find that Ld. Harrowby has succeeded in his 
endeavour to obtain a Pension for Mrs, Wm. Humphry, & altho' the Provision is 
small 1^200 a year] yet under the circumstances of the case it is an event that we 
must all feel very thankful for. . . . The articles from Sundridge arrived yester- 
day ; the chairs are a handsome Form but not in a good state of Preservation. The 
lustre is not unpacked from having no place at present from which it can be sus- 
pended. I imagine you had a visit from Mr. Palmer last week as he would be returning 
from the Kentish Assizes about that time. Sir Willm proposes recommencing his 
Repairs in about a Fortnight ; I believe he will begin with the Poultry yard. The 
beginning of May he thinks of new roofing the remainder of the House, & on the 
15th of May Mr. Cubit is to commence his operations on the Interior of the old 
Mansion. Sir Wm. indulged me this morning with a little of my favourite amuse- 
ment ; we have planted about a hundred Forest Trees & fifty evergreen shrubs. How 
truly unfortunate is the situation of poor Mrs. Hughes, the Living of Westfield has 
been for some time sequestrated & Mr. Hughes is out 0/ sight. The Parsonage has 
lately been taken possession of by Government Officers for arrears of Hop Duty. A 
Farmer in the Parish whose Family had formerly received many instances of kind- 
ness from Mrs. Hughes has given her a temporary asylum at his House. I hear Mr. 
Polhill has offered her a Home at Chipstead but there is great difficulty in knowing 
what to do with her Sons, who it is said have been much neglected & inherit all the 
bad propensities of their Father. We passed a very agreeable Eveng. at Mr. Ash's & 
met Mr. and Mrs. MUward, the Goodenoughs, &c. . . ." 

(e) Mr. William Manning, M.P., was the father of Cardinal Manning. 


The next letter is written on two half sheets of paper most skilfully united with 
cotton, and describes the parties at the Cazalets', the Lamb's, and elsewhere : — 

" My dear Fanny, 

This day being set apart for Sir William's Audit, and in consequence being con- 
fined to my own Room, I cannot employ a portion of the time in a more agreeable 
manner to myself than by addressing a Letter to you. ... I hope my Mother 
will be fortunate in the disposal of her Property & we think the arrangements she is 
about making are very judicious; by this means we trust her Income may be increased. 
Mr. J. Ashbumham does not return home till after Easter. Mr. & Mrs. St. Albans 
are so much pleased with Hastings that they intend buying a House there and making 
it their future Residence. Mr. St. Albans has lately been appointed by the Bishop 
of Chichester to the Curacy of Westfield. ... I shall be rejoiced when the 
Repairs cire completed, having been in so unsettled a state of late. Tell my dear 
Mother we depend on her making us a visit towards the end of the Summer, by which 
time I hope the House will be comfortable indeed. I look forward with the greatest 
pleasure to seeing her & my Sisters again at Broomham. Mrs. Charles Milward 
either has or is about to leave Hastings ; yrs was the first Intelligence of her good 
JFortune that had reached us. We are to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Lambe en famille 
on Monday to meet only Major and Mrs. Mackenzie. Sir William would be obliged 
if you would ask Mr. NouaiUe if he can without difficulty obtain for him from the 
Manufacturers by the beginning of next month patterns of crimson taboret silk, not 
stuff, by which time we shall know the number of yards we shall require for Curtains ; 
this Mr. Nouaille was kind enough to offer the last time we had the Pleasure of 
meeting him at Seal. I had a long letter from Alicia West a few days ago ; she gives 
a good account of all her Family. The little Girls have just commenced Lessons in 
Dancing. We are in daily expectation of hearing the result of James' first college 
examinations. From the accounts that have reached us we hope it will be creditable 
to himself. We think of leaving off our mourning for our late Aunt on Easter Sunday; 
is this the time you have fixed on ? On opening my writing Desk I found only two 
half sheets of Paper, & being excluded from the Drawing Room I was obliged to 
unite them which I hope you will excuse. . . 
Broomham, April 5th, 1827." 

The Ashburnhams were invited to spend some time with the Mackenzies in 
town in April. The next letter is not till November, and contains an account of 
Mr. Allnutt's Death. Lady A. adds : "I sincerely congratulate my Mother & 
yourself on the Prospect of retaining as Neighbours our kind Relatives & Friends at 
Greatness. We attended Mrs. Camac's Party Monday Sennight. She had a briUiant 
assembly, Ld. Westmorland was there. He is staying at Hastings with an Invalid 
Daughter. I hear her Party last Monday was very numerous & amounted to more 
than eighty." 

On the 24th, Mrs. James West, William, and Alicia West came to stay at Broom- 
ham, and soon afterwards James West, who had just returned from Cambridge, 
arrived at Hastings. 

' ' Broomham, Deer, gth, 1827. 
My dear Fanny, 

... On Wednesday we had a Dinner Party of twenty comprized of our Neigh- 
bours at Rye ; Fanny Woodgate joined our Party & remained here till yesterday Morn- 
ing. She is looking uncommonly well & appears more than ever to enjoy the amusements 
of Hastings. On Friday for the sake of economy we had another large Dinner Party, 
and as I know you hke to hear every particular shaU send a list of the Company, 
which consisted of the Archdeacon, Mrs. & Miss Goodenough, Mrs. Wynch, Mr. & 
Mrs. H. Wynch, the two Miss Birds, the two Mr. Brisco's, & Mr. Hodges We were 
much disappointed in not seeing Mrs. Mascall who was summoned into Lincolnshire 
by Mr. Collet the day before, in consequence of the alarming illness of her sister. On 


the day of our first party Mr. & Mrs. Rush dined & slept here ; I was really very happy 
to see our old friends at Broomham. Mrs. James West is looking very well, I am 
much concerned to see she does not derive more amusement from Society. We are 
to dine with Mr. & Mrs. Richards one day next week but I believe she will decline all 
Engagements at Hastings both for herself & Ahcia during her stay. James joined his 
Grandfather & Mrs. West yesterday & I believe they are engaged to Parties every 
day for the next month. The Public Ball is fixed for the 25th, & Mrs. Camac's 
grand entertainment is to take place on the 27th Nov. ; poor Mr. Camac has been 
confined for the last month with an attack of gout. The last Public Ball was but 
thinly attended. Mr. Courthope's Family came from Wylie to be present. The 
Flirtation between Miss Courthope & a gentleman at Hastings appears on the decline. 
Mrs. John Ashburnham declines joining parties at present but is to pass a few days 
here this week to meet Mrs. James West. We hear the Chapel at Hastings is nearly 
finished. It is to be consecrated on the i8th & to be open for Public Worship on 
Xmas Day. It is said Miss Anson is engaged to Mr. Sharp ; James consoles himself 
with paying attention to Miss Golightly, a very pretty young woman from the neigh- 
bourhood of Pembridge, who is now at Hastings. Fanny Woodgate's cousin Mr. 
Hamilton has been for some time at Hastings ; he is in attendance on Mrs. & Miss 
Russel. You may recollect the latter is the Lady to whom he is engaged. Fanny 
has seen him frequently & he appears to wish to cultivate frequent Intercourse with 

' ' Broomham, Deer. 28, 1827. 
My dear Fanny, 

... I received your kind letter on Wednesday & immediately signed the Legacy 
Discharge [for the legacy under Sir Richard Hardinge's will] & returned it to Capt. 
Hardinge under cover to Sir Henry by that night's post. Our Friends from DryhUl 
leave Broomham on Monday next. About a fortnight ago Alicia persuaded her 
Mama to allow her to attend with us one of Mrs. Camac's at Homes, with which she 
was much pleased. Mrs. Camac gave Mrs. J. West & her Daughter a most pohte 
Invitation to attend her Ball last night ; Mrs. West I am happy to say found herself 
equal to the exertion & thither we all repaired about nine o'clock. Mrs. Camac 
kindly enquired after Maryanne & yourself & said she should have been most happy to 
see you also. From 150 to 200 Persons were assembled & I assure you it was a most 
agreeable Ball. Mrs. James West was highly entertained by the Variety of Characters 
that were present ; Alicia is much improved in dancing, made out extremely well, and 
obtained for a first Ball a good share of Partners. Fanny Woodgate was thought 
the decided Belle of the Evening, she is considered to be much improved both in her 
Person and Manner. Mrs. Camac was as usual all attention to her Guests. One 
great drawback to the Eveng occurred ; poor Mr. Camac was in Bed suffering from 
a severe attack of gout. Lord Graves lost a Daughter at Hastings a few days ago in 
consequence of which all his party together with Dr. Wellesley's Family were prevented 
attending. I am told Hastings is overflowing with visitors, but imagine Lady 
Londonderry would find no difficulty in obtaining Lodgings in a good situation for 
about eight guineas a week, as the company changes so continually. It afforded me 
real pleasure to hear so good an account of Ld. Camden's Family after their late 
severe affliction, & that yourself & Maryanne had passed so cheerful a day at Wilder- 
ness. We are to patronize a Play to-morrow Evening, we fix this day as being the 
only vacant night during the stay of our Tunbridge Friends. We have three engage- 
ments next week, on Wednesday to the Miss Milwards, Thursday Mrs. Stonestreet's 
& Friday Mrs. Goodenough's. Mr. Courthope's Family arrived at Hastings yesterday 
for the purpose of attending Mrs. Camac's Ball last night. Perhaps -perseverance on 
their part may obtain the Prize. Our friend James is paying great attentions to Miss 
Golighty who has been at Hastings with her Mother for the last six weeks. I am glad 
to find Mr. Palliser has succeeded in effecting an exchange. Should you attend our 
Friend Caroline Hardinge's Wedding, pray offer my sincerest & kindest congratu- 
lations : on her account I wish it was a more desirable connection." 


The next letter followed in close succession ; Miss Humphry had been asked to 

recommend some lodgings to Lady Londonderry, and her sister mentions four 
that were vacant and suitable : 

II, Wellington Square, 9 beds Five guineas a week. 

13, Pelham Crescent, 10 beds or more. Eight guineas a week. 

I, Breeds Place, 11 beds or more, Twelve guineas a week. 

Brunswick House Parade, Nine guineas a week. 

" Tuesday Morning (ist Janry., 1828). 
My dear Fanny, 

Our friends at Dryhill left yesterday morning. I am concerned to say that 
James states in his Letter received this Morning that poor Fanny Woodgate is very 
unwell, having had continual fainting fits, but I am happy to add was somewhat 
better last night. I fear she has undergone too much exertion of late. The dramatic 
Performances on Saturday Evening passed off very well. Mr. & Mrs. West filled a 
Box with themselves & Friends, & James escorted a large Party of young Ladies. 
The House was well attended, many of the Principal visitors now at Hastings were 

A postscript mentions that Sir William had that morning received Intelligence 
of the death of his unfortunate cousin. Miss Ashburnham of Chichester. 

Anne Frances Ashburnham was a niece of the Bishop of Chichester, being the 
daughter of the Rev, Charles Ashburnham, Precentor and Canon Residentiary of 
Chichester Cathedral. Miss Ashburnham had an only brother. Charles, and both 
were unfortunately weak in intellect. On the death of their mother, about 1822, a 
widow, they were left insufficiently provided for ; indeed,Miss Ashburnham had but a 
farm which brought in £40 a year, and her brother had perhaps still less. However, 
the family contributed liberally to their support. Sir William gave ^^500, John 
Ashburnham gave £10 a year, and the Pelhams, Lord Chichester and other relatives 
likewise assisted. They lived under the care of their cousin Mrs. Davison, wife of the 
Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral, who proved a most valuable friend at this juncture. 

The next letter mentions the Winchelsea property which was so adversely 
affected by the Rye Harbour Bill, and which Sir William Ashburnham was very 
anxious to sell. 

" Broomham, Janry. 13th, 1828. 
My dear Fanny, 

... I very much regret you have so much trouble in the arrangements of o\xi late 
Aunts' affairs, but where so many Interests are concerned fear it too often occurs. 
Mr. Palmer came to Hastings about a fortnight since, & with the mutual consent of 
Sir Wm. & Mr. J. Ashburnham cancelled the contract with Mr. Shadwell for the 
Winchelsea Estate. Mr. Shadwell for some time has not been in good Health & 
would not longer consent to so large a sum being tied up, & the Trustees considering 
it doubtful whether the contract could be enforced while the crown claims were 
pending thought it most advisable to rehnquish it altogether. You may be assured 
this is a great disappointment to Sir Wm., having for nearly three years looked 
forward to the completion of this purchase, as the time for the final arrangement of 
his affairs. However we must hope for the best, & Mr. Palmer hears the Crown will 
certainly issue an Inquisition to try the question in the course 6f the ensueing Spring, 
after which a re-sale of the Estate will take place, but I fear under much less advan- 
tageous circumstances. We attended Mrs. Bird's Ball in Wellington Square last 
Wednesday Eveng, Most of the Principal Famihes & many of the visitors of the place 
were present, amounting to about a hundred. Lady Burton & Mr. H. Burton who 
are among the last arrivals at Hastings joined the Party. Pray teU Mrs. NouaiUe 
that Anne appeared to enjoy herself exceedingly, was looking remarkably well & 
danced the whole Evening. Fanny Woodgate I am sorry to say appears in a delicate 
state of Health, & is advised to avoid much fatigue ; between ourselves I think she has 


of late been a good deal harassed by different suitors. Mr. Wm. Palmer has been at 
Hastings twice lately, & made proposals of marriage to her. I understand he is 
coming down again on Saturday, but whether he is to be a favored lover I am at a 
loss to conjecture. Mr. Musgrave Brisco has been paying her great attention but 
he appears quite unsuccessful. . . . 

Mrs. West is to have a Party to-morrow Evening. A Public Ball is to take Place 
on Wednesday to which Sir Wm. at the particular request of Mrs. Camac again 
officiates as Steward, & we have an Invitation to dine with Mr. & Mrs. Bowen in 
Wellington Square on Saturday. I depend upon Anne Nouaille's making us a visit 
during her stay in this Neighbourhood. I hope yourself & Maryanne enjoyed Miss 
Burton's Party. . . . " 

The next letter contains a request by the Rev. John Ashburnham that Lady 
Ashburnham should stand god-mother to his second son, Anchitel : 

' ' Ever since the birth of my little son I have been turning it in my thoughts 
whom I should among my friends ask to be Sponsors for him. Now there is no one 
who it would be more gratifying to me (& I may add to Mrs. Ashburnham) to stand 
Godmother to him than yomrself. Your undertaking this office will therefore be 
esteemed by us as a particular obligation At the same time I beg to say that if you 
have the least objection to comply with my request I shall not take your doing so at 
all amiss." 

John Piers, the eldest son. died at an early age, so that Anchitel eventually 
succeeded to the baronetcy. The next letter, from Sir William, accompanied the 
" Keepsake " (a Literary Annual), his gift to Mary Anne Humphry, and contains 
much discerning literary and artistic criticism, which consideration of space compels 
us to exclude. 

' ' Broomham, April loth, 1828. 
My dear Miss Mary Anne Humphry, 

. . . Sir Charles Hardinge was from home, but we saw at the Vicarage Capt. 
& Mrs, Hardinge, and also Lady Hardinge, who introduced to us a train of remark- 
ably healthy looking children. Lady Hardinge was looking charmingly, and seemed 
delighted at seeing Julia. Her Ladyship told us, that Sir Charles had some thoughts 
of coming to Hastings in the course of next autumn : I hope he will carry his intentions 
into execution, which will be very agreeable to us. We had an uncommonly fine 
day for our journey, the roads were in excellent order, and we arrived at my old 
mansion about seven o'clock. I have this morning been to the Parsonage, but am 
sorry to say Mrs. Ashburnham is far from well. . . . 

Sensible of the interest which the friendly circle at Seal feel for all my family, I 
have much pleasure in transmitting to you some very agreeable intelligence which I 
have just received from my brother Denny. I found here a letter from my brother 
Denny, in which he saj's that whilst he was in London he had an interview with 
the Lord Chancellor, who not only treated him in the kindest and most cordial 
manner, as an old friend, but from some observations which Lord Lyndhurst made, 
Denny thinks himself warranted in supposing that he may depend for certain on his 
Lordship's patronage. . . . " 

The next letter is also from Sir William to Mary Anne Humphry fixing the date 
of her visit to Broomham. He requests her to obtain a drawing which Mr. Engle- 
heart had promised to do for him of the Knights Templars tombs at Winchelsea, and 
' ' a similar message to our young friend Mr. Peter Nouaille who has engaged to 
execute for me a Drawing representing some of the antiquities at Oxford and in its 
neighbourhood." These drawings, together with some verses upon Ozias Humphry, 
which Mrs. Humphry had, were destined for Sir William's magnificent album. It 
was very handsomely bound and finished ; but whether any of his albums remain 
with the family we do not know. He adds : — 

' ' I understand that the Earl of Chichester is going to be married to a daughter 


of the Earl of Cardigan ; perhaps you may have seen the Ladies Brudennel. at Wilder- 
ness. As I hear Mr, William Thorpe is sent for to London to draw up the marriage 
articles, I imagine that the ceremony will shortly take place. Both Julia and I 
depend upon seeing her nephew William Humphry at Broomham in the course of his 
summer vacation ; perhaps he will accompany you here if his grandmother can spare 
him so soon. We expect our friends Mrs. and Miss Palmer to pay us a visit about the 
8th of this month. We were concerned to hear of the death of Major Woodgate, 
though from the reports of his illness we had reason to anticipate such an event." 

The Major was William Woodgate of Summerhill, who died at Dunkirk, surrounded 
by several of his family. From two letters of Mary Anne Humphry's, we learn 
that William Humphry returned to school no less pleased with his visit than were 
Mrs. and Miss Palmer, the former of whom reminded her occasionally, when in her 
most agreeable moods, of her aunt Sarah Woodgate. Their places were taken by 
Wilham and John West, the latter " improved, and an intelligent and fine boy," 
the former " always an agreable inmate." With reference to the approaching 
match between Musgrave Brisco and Fanny Woodgate, who were then at Ton- 
bridge, Mary Anne Humphry observes : — 

' ' The family at the Postern intended to go to Town on Monday, a preparatory 
measure to the approaching union. William tells us Mr. Brisco frequently goes to 
Dry Hill & that his Mother likes him very much. Mr. & Mrs. Shadwell came over to 
Broomham ten days ago to invite all the Party to dine with them on Tuesday last ; 
we sat down to Table to the number of ten, consisting of Miss Sayer, Mr. Dudley 
North, Mr. Warrenger, our own party & the host & hostess ; in the Evening there was 
the addition of Miss Milwards, Mr. & Mrs. Stonestreet, Dr. Burgess, &c. Miss 
Fanny [Millward] was quite brisk, & related to me their attending a sort of fete 
champetre at Lady Hertford's, where the gardens were illuminated in a splendid 
manner & many of the royal family present. Miss Milward said the King was not 
pleased with Lady Londonderry's assumption of Royalty. On Thursday next Mr. 
Curteis gives a grand entertainment at Windmill Hill. The Company are invited at 
one o'clock, archery & Quadrilles are to constitute the Diversions of the Day ; Sir 
William & Julia have decHned, as they cannot be accomodated with beds. Dr. & 
Mrs. Knox spent two hours here yesterday morning ; they admired the House & furni- 
ture exceedingly. Mrs. Knox said, Anna is now staying with her brother William 
[Woodgate] in London, where her marriage will shortly take place, & in consequence 
of her Father's recent demise as privately as possible. . . ." 

Mr. Brisco's marriage was greatly delayed by the dissensions between William 
Woodgate and Mr. Whitton who were preparing the settlements ; the delay extended 
to weeks, and even to months, and during that time the Ashburnhams, being in 
constant expectation of a summons to the wedding, were unable either to accept or 
give invitations to their friends. Fanny Woodgate's cousin, the Hon. Gustavus 
Hamilton, was more fortunate, for we learn from Mary Anne Humphry's letter of 
13th September, 1828, that 

" . . . Mr. Hamilton was married on Tuesday last to Miss Russel, at the 
new Chapel at Hastings ; it was very private, & soon after the ceremony they departed 
in a carriage and four to London, where they will remain a short time previous to an 
excursion on the Continent " (/). 

(/) Miss Russell was the daughter of Mr. Matthew Russell, M.P,, of Brancepeth Castle, Durham. 

Brancepeth Castle was originally one of the ancient homes of the Nevilles. It was purchased 
in 1796 for £75,000 by Miss Russell's grandfather, whose son completely restored it, in excellent 
taste and without regard to expense. He married a sister of the Rt. Hon. Charles Tennyson 
D'E3Tiecourt, and had two children ; the son died in 1850 without issue, and the daughter 
married Mr. Hamilton, afterwards Lord Boyne, who succeeded in his wife's right to Brancepeth 
Castle and assumed by royal hcence the name and arms of Russell in addition to those of 
Hamilton. Their grandson is the present Lord Boyne, in the Peerage of Ireland, and Baron 
Brancepeth in that of the United Kingdom. 


The letter continues : 

' ' On the same day was hkewise married at Battle Miss Barton to Lord Clarina. 
Fame reports that this Lady has a large fortune. Mr. Palmer left Broomham on 
Saturday morning, he said my Mother's wishes should certainly be attended to ; his 
family are now at Brighton where they propose remaining six weeks. Sir William & 
Julia were invited yesterday to dine at Winchelsea, to meet the Bishop of Calcutta 
& his Lady. In the morning however Mr. W. Lipscomb called with his Brother the 
Bishop to say the party was postponed in consequence of the indisposition of 
Mrs. Lipscomb. They have been making a tour round the coast, and from too much 
exertion, or the heat of the weather, she found herself very unwell, & perfect quiet was 
recommended for the next fortnight. We are going to Hastings this morning ; the 
place is overflowing with company & looking cheerful & gay. A visit to Miss Mil- 
ward will probably put us in possession of the particulars of the late weddings. On 
Monday last we called upon Mrs. Mascal ; it was a lovely morning & I enjoy'd the 
drive extremely. Miss Mascal (still in delicate health) was gone with Mr. Herbert 
Curteis to pass a fortnight at Eastboarne. Mrs. Mascal walked with us through her 
Gardens & pleasure Grounds, which are extensive, & I saw the Noisette Rose, of a 
gigantic height, still flowering most luxuriantly. . . ." 

A visit of Frances Humphry to Broomham succeeded that of her sister, and was 
the cause of several interesting letters. 

" Broomham, Tuesday Morning, (i8th Novr., 1828). 
My dear Mother, 

In the expectation of seeing our friend Julius NouaUle, I shall prepare an Epistle 
for his conveyance to you. I must in the first place inform you of my safe arrival 
here on Friday evening about six o'clock, the Coach by which I travelled went by 
Tonbridge Wells, Tycehurst, & Wadhurst, which detained us a little longer on the 
road, but gave me an opportunity of seeing a new & pretty part of the country. Sir 
William's carriage was waiting my arrival at the Hare & Hounds, & on reaching 
Broomham a cordial reception together with a cheerful Fire blazing in my bedroom 
soon made me very comfortable after a wet journey. . . . Saturday morning I 
accompanied Sir William & Julia to Hastings, when we called on Miss Crichton, but 
unfortunately did not see her, as she was taking an early dinner with her friend. 
We afterwards visited Miss Mascall, & Mrs. & Miss Golightly — the former is staying at 
Hastings with a sick Aunt, & expecting to be joined by her Mother in about a month. 
On leaving Hastings we met Mr. & Mrs. Musgrave Brisco entering the town. Mr. 
Brisco was on the look out, anxiously awaiting their arrival which was announced by a 
merry peal from the BeUs of St. Clements Church. In consequence of the indisposi- 
tion of Miss Luxford, herself & her sister Elizabeth had been passing a fortnight 
with Miss Browning for the benefit of a little warm bathing & left Hastings a week 
ago much improved in Health. 

Julia has lately had all her Geese stoln, & Saturday night three Hen-roosts in the 
Parish (including Mr. John Ashburnham's) shared the same fate. It is intended to 
caU a meeting of the parishioners to propose a nightly watch during the winter, in 
the hope of putting a stop to these daring Depredators. TeU Maryanne her friend 
Chanticleer with his melodious strains arouses me by times every morning. Julia has 
written to invite Miss Crichton to pass a few days here next week. ... I have 
not yet been able to see my little Godson, but intend visiting the Parsonage the 
first disengaged morning. Sir Wm. & Julia have declined several parties next 
week in the expectation of Miss Crichton being here ; the only engagements at present 
existing are a dinner here on Wednesday, & one at Sir Wathen Waller's on Friday 
week. We are going this morning to call on the Bride & Bridegroom, & hope to find 
Juhus Nouaille here on the return. . . ." 

" Broomham, Novr. 24th, 1828. 
My dear Maryanne, 

As the relation of the proceedings at Broomham proves so acceptable to our 
friends at Seal, I certainly will not fail to send you a circumstantial detail of them, 
but in the first place must thank you for the kind letter received on Friday last, & 
assure j^ou it affords us no less satisfaction to hear a good account of my dear Mother 
& yourself. Julia & indeed all the Trio were much disappointed that the unexpected 
departure of Miss Crichton prevented her coming to Broomham, having indulged 
many pleasing anticipations from the prospect of her Society. I will now proceed 
with my detail in due order. I know you will expect a particular account of Mr. Kay's 
entertainment ; Mrs. \Yinch, Mr. Henry & Mr. feter Winch, Mrs. & Miss Randal 
(ladies residing in Wellington Square) & ourselves partook a repast consisting of 
every delicacy of the season, elegantly served, with all thp refinement foreign skill 
could devise, the choicest Wines, & a Desert to which the confectionery of Paris & 
Brussels were added ; & to compleat all rose Water was dispensed after dinner for the 
refreshment of the party. Mr. Kay & his Sisters were most attentive to their Guests ; 
barring a small tincture of affectation, he appears an intelligent pleasant man ; his 
Sisters I like very much, their Cottage is quite a Bijou, I am to visit them some 
morning to take a more accurrate survey of their cabinet of Foreign Curiosities. Of 
the Ball you must not expect so animated & vivid a description as I probably should 
have given ten ypars ago ; it was nevertheless very pleasant. A hundred & forty 
fight persons were present, & among several stars of less magnitude Mrs. Briscp 
^^one pre-eminent. Sir Wm. continues to act as ^ Steward, in whiph office he is 
considered so efficent, that his name was included in the list withoyt ascertaining his 
own wishes on the subject. The mourning here is not yet laid aside, altho' at the 
Ball & most of the festive meetings many of the ladies appear in white Dresses. 

Much to the disapppintment of Sir Wrn. his Album is not yet arrived from 
Town ; the Binder certainly does not enter intp fiis feelings, or he would nqt 
have been so tardy in executing his Order. The Pictures [the family portraits, 
ypferred to in Mary Anne Humphry's letter] are remarkably wgU cleaned, & appear to 
great advantage ranged in due order round the dining-room. The Party here on 
Saturday passed most agreeably, 22 at dinner, mth the addition of Miss Sayer, a 
friend, and two Neices (who volunteered their company) in the evening ; the dinner 
was very handsome & well served, & altho' so late in the year, the Floral display was 
very ornamental to the Table. Mr. Henry Winch the preceding day sent a nosegay 
containing more than a hundred different flowers, gathered from the owjier's Garden, 
& many of them beautiful of their kirid. In the eveng Sir Wm. proposed a pool of 
commerce for the benefit of the Infant School, in which many of the party readily 
joined, the Gentlemen putting in Double Stakes ; it was at last contested by Julia & 
myself, the fickle goddess however favoured her with success, & the sum of thirty 
shillings was consigned to the care of Miss Bird in aid of the funds of the institution. 
The Bazaar is to be opened at the Assembly room the 23rd & 24th of Deer. Ly 
Ashburnham, Mrs. Camac, Mrs. Brisco & Mrs. Millward have been solicited to act as 
Patronesses, & every Patroness is to have two young Ladies in waiting upon her. 
The design is certainly very laudable, but if it could be accomplished with less cere- 
mony & display, it might perhaps be still better. My Godson is really a magnificent 
Child, & remarkably gracious & condescending to his God-mamma; the little Girls are 
beautiful Children, but at present I cannot say much in favour of their agreeable 
qualities. At the Ball Miss Millward danced the whole evening with some of the 
smartest partners in the room including yr friend Mr. Dudley North. Mr. & Mrs. 
West appear most happy to rejoin their Neice ; Mrs. West is to bring Mrs. Brisco to 
pass a Morning here some day this week. Mrs. Brisco says the reception & kindness 
she has received from aU Mr. Brisco's family cannot be exceeded. One of the 
Carriage horses has been so much indisposed that the Farrier recommends perfect 
rest for a week, possibly this short intermission may be desirable for the Inmates 


of the House as well as the Stable. Invitations have been received (in which I am 
included) to the following dinners: Tuesday the 2nd of Deer ArchdeaconGoodenough's, 
Friday the 5th the Miss Millwards', & the loth (my dear Mother's Birthday) to Mr. 
Stonestreet's. I never remember such a month of November, the walk to Church 
yesterday morning was quite delightful. Do not think that amidst all the gaiety 
by which I am surrounded that I am unmindful of my friends at home, & whenever 
you feel disposed for writing, a letter will be most acceptable to me. With our 
united best love to my Mother & yourself, ever my dear Maryanne yr affecte sister 

Frances Humphry. 

A list of the party at Broomham on Saturday last : Mr. Brisco, Mr. & Mrs. M. 
Brisco, Mr. & Mrs. Camac, the Archdeacon, Mrs. & Miss Goodenough, Mr. & Mrs. 
West, Mrs. Mr. Henry & Mr. Peter Winch, the Miss Millwards, 2 Miss Birds, Mrs. 
Ashbumham & Mr. Palmer." 

A postscript added by Lady Ashburnham : — ' ' . . . Have you heard that Sir 
Anthony Hart has sold Mabledon to Mr. Deacon, a Banker in London ? Sir William 
has nearly completed his Orchard Plantation, which we hope will prove a great 
addition to the garden at Broomham. Mrs. M. Brisco is looking beautiful ; from a 
conversation I had with Mr. Musgrave the day they dined here, I think they will 
ultimately fix on a Residence in the Country & we hope not far from us. . . ." 

The Brisco's are henceforth mentioned so frequently and at such length that, in 
view of the fact that many of the extracts are arranged under the heading of BRISCO 
(Chapter XVI), it is impossible to transcribe at length every reference to them. 
The narrative is resumed by Miss Humphry on the 2nd December, 1828. 

" . . . The party here on Wednesday last consisted of Sir Charles Lamb, 
Ly. Montgomery, Ld. Eglinton, Ly. Turnour & her eldest son. Sir Wathen Waller, 
2 Mr. Norths, Mr. & Mrs. Stonestreet, Mrs. & Miss Golighty, Miss Lucas, & Mr. 
Warrenger ; several of the residents being engaged the number was made up by 
including a few visitors. The dinner did infinite credit to the arrangement & good 
taste of the Mistress as well as the skiU of the Cook. The Beauport family made 
themselves very agreeable & admired the fitting up of the House exceedingly, Ly. 
Turnour appears to more advantage unaccompanied by her poor unfortunate lord ; 
she was very handsomely attired & took an opportunity of informing Julia that she 
made a point of waiting on her in a dress she had to attend his Majesty's drawing 
room in the Spring. There was a Concert & Ball at Hastings the same evening, 
which several of the party attended after leaving Broomham. It is a relief to Julia 
that these parties are over, there being a degree of anxiety attending home-meetings 
that is not experienced elsewhere. 

The party at Sir Wathen Waller's on Wednesday last was very select, 16 at dinner, 
& the entertainment altogether the most splendid I have witnessed ; the display of 
Plate quite magnificent ; a variety of the choicest wines, & a dessert consisting of the 
rarest Fruits & preserves ; in the latter four richly gilt Cornucopia's were introduced, 
which produced a very ornamental effect to the table. Sir Wathen abounds in 
anecdote, which with a little degree of pomposity renders his conversation highly 
amusing. The Baroness How presided at the head of the table, & was very attentive 
to her guests ; but is so extremely deaf that she can derive little pleasure from society, 
& most of the party appeared reluctant to hear the sound of their voice through the 
medium of her ladyship's Trumpet. Sir William's Album arrived yesterday, & is a 
most splendid work ; he has presented it to Julia and I am sure she will duly value 
so gratifying a proof of affection & genius ; I promise myself a rich treat, in being 
allowed to peruse the contents of this interesting volume. . . The Carriage 
Horse is quite recovered. We went to Hastings yesterday to call on Mr. & Mrs. West, 
& found them both quite well. We also made Miss Golightly a visit, who favoured us 
with the sight of some of her paintings, one of which (a miniature of Mary Queen of 

Scotts) Sir Wm. much admired, & she has promised him a copy for his Album ; she is a 
pretty Hvely girl, with most fascinating manners ; Mr. Dudley North appears by no 
means insensible to her charms. I find the parties very pleasant now I am become 
more acquainted with the members of which they are composed. Miss Goodenough 
I like much, & Miss Lucas is a very pleasant well informed young Woman. The 
Invitations multiply, to Balls, as well as dinners ; Sir Wm. & Julia prudently decline 
all evening engagements (with the exception of Mrs. Camac's Ball fixed for the 26th 
Inst.) during the Winter. Even Mrs. Brisco begins to find the parties too frequent, 
& says she quite enjoys a quiet evening at home. Sir William has sent to a certain 
Mr. Job Elliot, famed for his Skill in draining land, & hopes to conclude a treaty with 
him, for performing this salutary operation on his Park. . . ." 

The Baroness Howe was the eldest daughter of the celebrated Lord Howe, and 
married secondly in 1812 Sir Jonathan Wathen Waller. A reflection of the life at 
Broomham is afforded by a long letter of this date from Denny iVshburnham, from 
which we have made a few extracts : — 

" 27, Upper Marylebone Street, Portland Place, 
Deer. 5th, 1828. 
Dear Brother, 

. , . I v/as happy to find that Lady Ashburnham & yourself have been 
passing your time so agreeably and sociably. I pictured to myself the happiness I 
have so often witnessed in the festive Parties at Broomham ; such happiness is 
natural where good sense, good humour & good taste prevail in the Host & Hostess, 
the Lords & Governors of the feast, for surely there folly herself, fearing detection, will 
mantle in her best attire & muffle all her bells. 

It gave me sincere pleasure to hear that Fanny Woodgate had changed her 
name so much to the satisfaction of her Relatives & with that promise of felicity 
alluded to in your very effective lines written & spoken on the occasion, & which must 
have contributed largely to the hilarity of the marriage feast, neither would the 
loyal sentiments bourn on the Breezes of the blustering West lose their effect. I am 
glad you have planted an orchard ; it is an appendage much wanted to your old 
mansion. I can see you in imagination walking your rounds & watching the progress 
of your plants, which is indeed a matter of great interest, rising in proportion to our 
knowledge of the vegitable world. Believe me, the pleasure I derive from my very 
limited information in Botany is indescribable. Hamlet calls this world * ' an un- 
weeded garden" . . . My dear Mrs. Mackenzie, Mrs. Lewes & children, with Miss 
Capley spent a long morning with us at Ditchling, and were much pleased with the 
improved appearance of the Vicarage, and Mrs. M. ran away with your letter 
containing the nuptial fines & we parted not a little pleased with our visitors. 
Your favour was forwarded to me from Ditchling last Monday, which I should 
have answered sooner had I not waited to see my little Nephew whom I saw yesterday 
at Mr. Jephson's ; he was looking remarkably weh, quite a picture, & very anxious for 
Saturday week, which he expects will set him at rural liberty. 

Here, now, is drawing to a close perhaps the happiest of the many happy years 
of my life. I cannot say with Octavian ' ' Where are the look'd-for Years, gaily 
bedecked with fancy's imagery, when boyhood smiled upon thy lusty youth & all 
was sunshine ! " — for with me, such times, not only have been, but are still existing, 
rolling on in bright or even brighter colouring arrayed. . . ." 

The style of this writer is not dissimilar to that of his brothers George and Sir 
William, and has about it a certain ring that is now seldom met with. It is employed, 
with much effect, in the next letter, which contains a criticism of the Keepsake for 
1828, Sir William's yearly Christmas present to Mary Anne Humphry. His remarks 
will not admit of transcription at full length, but an extract will suffice : — 
" . . . The poetry, with the exception of two or three small pieces, is very 


indifferent. The following epigrammatic couplet is decidedly the best amongst the 
verses, and seems like a satire, a severe satire on the rest. 

' ' Swans sing before they die — 'twere no bad thing 
' * Did certain persons die before they sing." 

The prose department is much better. . . My poetical album tias at last beei^ 
returned from the hands of the bookbinder. It is magnificently bound, and has been 
much approved of by my friends. I flatter myself that it is quite a unique com- 
pilation. Many Kentish families are expected at Hastings, amongst the rest the 
Hodges of Hempsted, the Morlands of Lamberhurst, and the Moneypennys of Hadlow; 
Mr. Henry Hodges and his family, and Sir John and Lady Smith (who is sister to Mrs. 
Morland) are arrived there already. . . ." 

This letter is succeeded by one containing a minute description of the Bazaar. 
Sir William had expressed his anxiety to secure a beautiful chess table, valued at 
fifteen pounds, painted by Miss Bryan, a friend of the Miss Birds. The border was of 
" a peculiarly elegant arabesque pattern most admirably executed in imitation of 
ebony and ivory ; the squares are black and white alternately, each white square 
being decorated with a different Landscape, chiefly views on the Rhine taken on the 
spot by the young Lady herself." This masterpiece was played for by thirty share- 
holders of ten shillings each, and fell to the lot of Mrs. RusseU, whose daughter had 
lately married Mr. Hamilton ; doubtless Lord Boyne's famOy now possesses it. 

The Bazaar realized on the two days sale £260, when a great many articles were 
yet unsold. Amongst other things Sir William purchased for one pound a well 
executed watercolour painting of ships encountering a strong gale at sea by a Miss 
Hutton, a pupU of Copley Fielding ; Dr. Batty (a good judge of drawings) declared 
that it did great credit to her master. Sir Wniiam declares that, " like all the 
European markets, the room was overstocked with commodities, and the goods to be 
sold very far exceeded the number of purchasers." After exceedingly minute 
details of the Bazaar, he concludes : — 

' * We dined and slept on Monday at Mr. Camac's. At dinner we met Sir Wathen 
Waller, Mr. Archdeacon Mrs. & Miss Goodenough, Mr. & Mrs. Milward, Mr. & Mrs. 
Stonestreet, Mr. & Mrs. West, Mr. Brisco, Mr. and Mrs. Musgrave Brisco, and Mr. 
Crosby ; in the evening was a large assemblage comprising almost the whole of our 
acquaintance resident at Hastings. On Tuesday we dined with Mr. and Mrs. West 
and the Briscos, and spent a very pleasant evening. I am sorry to say that the 
depredations in this parish still continue. The Larder of Guestling workhouse was 
broken open last night & robbed of the provisions it contained." 

Further particulars of the Bazaar are supplied by Lady Ashburnham, who, as 
one of the lady Patronesses, received several acknowledgments as a reward for her 

" Broomham, Thursday Eveng., Janry. ist, 1829. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . I was much obliged to Mrs. West & Mrs. Camac for their kind accomo- 
dation, finding standing [at the Bazaar] so many Hours very fatigueing. Mrs. 
Camac's Ball on Friday last proved extremely agreeable; about an Hundred & 
sixty persons were present consisting of most of the visitors now at Hastings, & all the 
Principal Families in this part of Sussex, with the exception of Lady Montgomery, 
who was prevented by Indisposition from attending. Ld. Eglinton was there, & 
danced the whole Eveng. It was the general observation that the Room did not 
boast so large a display of Beauty as Hastings usually presents. The Miss Lucas', 
Miss Gohghtly & Miss Dugdel were the most admired amongst the young Ladies. 
Mrs. Musgrave Brisco was the decided Star of the Evening ; she was in her very best 
looks, indeed I do not remember ever to have seen her to so much advantage, elegantly 
attired in a white (illegible) over white satten, with a most becoming pink Hat from 
Madame Geransdol, for the occasion. . . , Mr. Hodges' Family from Hemsted 

who arrived at Hastings the morning of the Badl were present, & also Sir John 
Smith's Family. Mr. & Mrs. Morland have taken a House, & I am told Dr. Wellesley 
has arrived in Wellington Square this week. Mr. J. Ashburnham attended the Ball 
and appeared much amused by the gayety & to him novelty of the scene. Mrs. A. 
enjoyed herself excessively, & looked very well. . . . (Friday Morning). The Ball 
last night proved the best of the season, more than a hundred & fifty persons being 
present. Lady Montgomery & a party from Beauport attended. I hope Anne 
Nouaille will arrive at Hastings before the Xmas festivities have ceased. Mr. 
Burton has finished & furnished a House in the new Town and is residing there with 
his Family. Many houses are to be completed next spring, & he has it in contem- 
plation to build a Church." 

The new toWh was St. Leonards. It was planned and built by Decimus Burton, 
one of the Burtons of Mabledon in Tonbridge, to whose family a large part of it now 
belongs. In March, 1829, Sir William paid a visit to London, partly on business and 
partly in order to see his dentist. He says : 

" Dr. Birch and his daughter (who were taken up at Battle) were two of my 
companions in the stage-coach, and I kept up so lively so interesting, and so incessant 
a conversation with the Dean, as to make the time pass very quickly, very smoothly 
and very pleasantly. The Dean told me some very curious anecdotes of Mr. Barton 
of Battle Abbey, relating to the period when he resided in France during the revolution 
but it would take up too much of my space to enter into detail at present. Mr. 
Wetherall of Pashley came up to town by the same coach as I did, but he was an 
outside passenger. . . After I left Mr. Bell [the dentist], I went to attend a 
meeting of the Horticultural Society, at their house in Regent Street, where I was 
dubbed a Fellow of that Society in due form, and congratulated by the president on 
the occasion. I did not expect to see any of my acquaintance there, but I did meet 
Mr. Wilson of Hastings and the Count de Yaunde. I did not stay long at the meeting 
because I had so many things to do ; but I am now entitled to attend whenever I 
think proper. I consider the Society as an object of great national importance. . " 

He dined in Upper Woburn Place and afterwards had a long discussion with 
Mr. Palmer on the state of his pecuniary affairs ; attended Drury Lane Theatre, and 
was a critical spectator of " Peter the Great " and " Caswallon " ; ordered a large 
quantity of groceries to be sent by sea to Hastings ; visited the National Gallery and 
the British Institution ; and indulged in the varied amusements of the metropolis, 
from which he returned at the end of the week. In June Mrs. Henry Buttanshaw 
died. She was the second daughter of W. F. Woodgate, of Summerhill. 

" Broomham, 2nd July, 1829. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . We were much concerned to hear the death of poor Mrs. Henry Buttan- 
shaw ; no particulars have yet reached us, but we understand from James West that 
this melancholy event took place last week in consequence of her confinement. I 
stated in my last letter that Sir Wm. had invited the Bishop of Chichester to Broom- 
ham, & on Tuesday we were honored by a visit from his Lordship accompanied by his 
son in law Mr. Baker. We invited a party of eighteen to meet him at Dinnelr. 
Unluckily many of the Ladies disappointed us on the Day ; however we assembled 
fourteen at Dinner. Mr. & Mrs. Milward, Mrs. G. Wynch, Miss Sayer, with six 
clergymen completed that number. The Bishop is a most agreeable Man, extremely 
polite, and expressed himself much gratified by the attentions he received here. He 
gave Sir Wm. & myself a pressing Invitation to visit himself & Mrs. C — at the 
Palace at Chichester. He quitted Broomham after Breakfast yesterday morning to 
hold a Confirmation at the Church of Rye. Mrs. James [West] and Alicia came to 
Winchelsea last Saturday se'nnight ; we have frequently seen them & she appears 
much pleased with her son's abode and situation. She did not feel equal to join our 
party on Tuesday, consequently we were disappointed of seeing Alicia, but they both 


accompanied us to the Confirmation at Rye, after which we partook of a cold collation 
at Mrs. Watson's where we met a large party. They come to stay here next Monday 
and before their return they are to be joined by Mr. James West & Frederick. Mr. J. 
Dugdale passed the greater part of last week here ; on the day of his arrival our 
Friends at Winchelsea were dining with us. He had not met Mrs. James West before 
for more than twenty years but in consequence of James being his curate she behaved 
to him with much civility, and the next day James gave us all a Hospitable Dinner at 
Winchelsea. Mr. J. Dugdale is about to exchange the two Livings he now holds for a 
valuable one in Dorsetshire in the gift of the Duke of Rutland. Mr. Mortimer the 
present incumbent has an only daughter who is married to a nephew of the late 
Archbishop of Canterbury, & settled in East Kent, & his object in effecting the 
exchange is to reside near her. James will retain the Curacy of Winchelsea. Miss 
Dugdel is not in good health, never having recovered the excitement she experienced 
at the termination of her last visit at Hastings. Ld. Harris by his will kindly remem- 
bered her with a Legacy of five hundred pounds. Julius Nouaille came here on 
Monday, & we hope he will continue with us till Saturday Morning. We regret he 
does not find his situation at Pevensey more agreable. . . Mr. G. Ashbumham 

is just arrived to dine with us. . . ." 

About this time an application was made on behalf of Sir William and many of 
the Freeholders, to Mr. Herbert Curteis to offer himself as candidate for the county 
whenever his father, Mr. Edward Jeremiah Curteis, M.P. for Sussex, should find the 
duties of a Legislator too laborious. It was the occasion of a very handsome letter 
to Mr. E. J. Curteis, in which he says : 

". . . I feel confident that he will tread in the steps of his father. I feel 
confident that the same loyalty to our most gracious Sovereign, and the same stedfast 
attachment and adherence to our excellent constitution which has characterized your 
parliamentary career will also distinguish his conduct. Your perfect independence, 
your unwearied, your indefatigable exertions in favour of agriculture, and your 
constant, your exemplary attentions to the business of the County, will prove an 
admirable pattern for his guidance. He could not possibly imitate a better model. 
The principles and practice which we have admired in the father I doubt not will be 
found in the son. That you may long enjoy health and happiness, and that you may 
for many many years continue to represent a county which you have so faithfully 
served, and which is so strongly attached to you by the deepest feelings of approbation, 
gratitude, & esteem, is the earnest wish of your sincere friend and faithfal humble 

William Ashburnham." 

The next letter represents I\Ir. Curteis as being in a dangerous state of health ; and 
refers to the newly-married Mrs. James John West, formerly Miss Molyneux. 

" 28th July, 1829. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . The Bride & Bridegroom dined with us on Wednesday, on their return 
from Hastings. We like our new Relative very much ; she appears to be a young 
woman of considerable mental attainment, and without being handsome, of genteel 
commanding appearance, & with the advantage of very pleasing manners, but I am 
sorry to add she still appears in a delicate state of health. We are to have a Dinner 
party at Broomham on Friday when they pass a few days with us. They have 
received the kindest letters of congratulations from the Postern, & she appears very 
desirous of cultivating the Regard and good opinion of all his Family. 

Mr. & Mrs. Musgrave Brisco are settled for six months in a most commodious 
Residence in York Buildings. Mrs. Musgrave is looking charmingly, in much 
improved Health & excellent Spirits, & Mr. & i'.Irs. James John West are to pass the 
early part of this week with them, to attend the Races on Tuesday & be present at the 
Ball the following Eveng. Mrs. Mackenzie & myself are to join a Ladies party/^at 


Mrs. Brisco's on Tuesday, after the sports of the Morning are concluded,. & in the 
Evening we adjourn to the Heath out of compHment to the steward who calls the Play. 
We dined yesterday at Fairlight Place with Mr. Planta & passed a most agreeable 
Eveng. We sat down ten to dinner. Sir Howard & Lady Elphinstone with a Party 
staying in the House compleated the number. Sir William was charmed by Mrs. 
Vom's performance on the Piano, but I understand she is considered to be one of the 
finest Players in England. The marriage of Mr. Elphinstone & Miss Curteis was to 
have taken place last Wednesda}^ but was obliged to be postponed in consequence of 
the alarming state of Mr. Curteis' health, but as he is now better it is hoped the 
ceremony need not long be Delayed. Their intended union gives the utmost satis- 
faction to the Families on each side There appears to be quite a Matrimonial 
mania in this neighbourhood. Mr. Oriel's marriage with Miss Georgina Morris takes 
place to-morrow at Fairlight. It is said that a demur has arisen with regard to the 
Engagement of Mr. Wynch and Miss Wilmot, in consequence of the's 
Fortune not answering the expectations that had been formed by the Family of the 
Lady. I am anticipating much pleasure from the idea of enjoying a visit to Seal. , . 
W^e heard yesterday from good authority that Mr. & Mrs. Mackenzie have finally 
taken Mr. Denne's House at Winchelsea, but do not know whether they have hired it 
or purchased the Property. We think ourselves fortunate in the prospect of having 
such highly esteemed & kinds friends for permanent Neighbours. I think it will 
also be a very agreeable circumstance to Mr. & Mrs. James John West. We are told 
Hastings is very full. How much I wish you could join our Parties this week, but I 
trust when we meet you will fix a time for coming to Broomham. Mrs. Camac was 
expected at her House last night, & I imagine with her return the wonted gayeties of 
the Place will revive. We hear Bohemia [belonging to the Wastell Brisco's] is taken 
b}^ a Nobleman, but do not know his name. . . . Last Monday we dined with 
Mr. & Mrs. Shadwell. I am glad to say they are both much benefited in Health & 
Spirits by their late excursion." 

In December, 1829, Sir William sent his usual present of " The Keepsake" to 
Mary Anne Humphry, to whom he says : 

' ■' I have not hitherto been able to profit by the lessons you was so kind as to give 
me in the Oriental tinting, because I have not yet procured my brushes for the purpose, 
but I shall do so before long. The Drawings I executed under your tuition have 
much pleased the friends to whom I have shewn them." 

His next letter to Mary Anne Humphry dated 12th January, 1830, mentions that 
he is engaged in composing a new version of the second Book of the Aeneid, and 
requests the loan of one or two books, to be sent down by Miss Nouaille. After 
commenting on the death, and the striking talents, of the late Sir Thomas Lawrence, 
he mentions a flying morning visit made them by Mr. Francis Lipscomb, on his way 
from Hastings to Winchelsea. Mr. Lipscomb's eldest sister was then lodging at 
Hastings, with Miss Browning. Miss Humphry soon afterwards paid a visit to 
Broomham ; she returned to Seal at the end of March, when she received the following 

' ' Broomham, April 4th, 1830. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . The Morning you left us we were favored by a visit from the Miss 
Millwards, who were much disappointed at not finding Miss Humphry here, as one 
object of their visit was to wait on her. However, they sat two hours with us, & told 
us all the news of the Neighbourhood. You have probably seen that Miss Fanny 
Morris' Marriage took place the next day. After partaking an elegant Breakfast at 
Mr. Millward's, the Bride & Bridegroom took their Departure for Tunbridge Wells, 
and after passing a few daj^s there Mrs. Thomas Barton is to go on to visit her sister 
Mrs. Oriel, during the time that Mr. J. Barton goes to Ireland, to be present at the 
Roscommon Assizes. & to wind up his Account as Sheriff for the County, after which 


they join Mr. & Mrs. Barton, who intend to reside in Ireland. They have quitted the 
Abbey and a sale of Furniture &c. which they added took place on Saturday at 
Battle. Sir William is much obliged by the information you have obtained from Sir 
Alexr. Crichton ; in consequence of his opinion, in the event of our going abroad, we 
have decided on not taking our Cook with us. We have heard nothing either of 
Mrs. North or her Friend, & therefore imagine that Coll. Clews was alarmed either by 
the size or Rent of Broomham. Sir Wm's affairs in town remain in the same state as 
When you left us. I shall be anxious to know that your new Clergyman is approved, 
but thmk the Parish will long regret the Departure of Mr. Engleheart. Mrs. J. J; 
West & James walked here to Dinner on Tuesday. The Bishop & his Family leave 
Hastings very shortly, I hope this connection may not end with their departure. 
James & his wife staid v/ith us tiU Thursday, when they went on to Hastings, being 
engaged to breakfast & spend the next morning with Mrs. Marsh. . . I had nearly 
forgot to mention that we had a visit from the hriday party last Monday, the Bride- 
groom looking all happiness & Mrs. Harwood in one of the most elegant bridal Bonnets 
I have ever seen. Mrs. Musgrave Brisco spent a long morning with me last week ; 
she was looking beautiful, and appeared much interested in the Plantations & Improve- 
ments that are going forward at Coghurst, which she visits nearly every day. I was 
quite vexed on the day of your departure to find the large Sole had not been put in 
the basket, the only one that was worth my Mother's acceptance. . . ." 

Lady Ashburnham's next letter contains some commissions for her sister, whb 
was about to visit London : the King's death was daily expected, and everyone wais 
engaged in procuring sables. 

" Broomham, May 15th, 1830. 

. . . Our friends at Winchelsea passed a morning with us last week. Miss 
Maryanne Molyneux is a fine young woman, as tall as her sister [Mrs. J. J. West] 
but very inferior both in appearance and manner. Mrs. James John West is looking 
very poorly. The Princess Sophia of Gloucester has taken Bohemia for six weeks ; 
she passed Broomham in her Carriage & four a few days ago. Mr. J. Ashburnham 
has been unwell for the last w^ek with a cold, he read prayers this afternoon with 
great apparent difficult}^ to himself & it was extremely painful to his congregation. . . 
Sir William met Mr. Camac one day last week at Hastings, he came down to super- 
intend the building of a new Room. He stated that a general gloom pervaded 
London, & that nothing was going forward in consequence of the depression of the 
times & the state of the King. . . . The garden is really beautiful, not a day 
J)asses but what I wish you could see it. The Lilacs Laburnums and spring flowers 
have been very gay. Joseph works in it from sunrise to sunsett & passes Sunday in 
walking about & admiring it. . . ." 

A few days later she writes, admiring some specimen's of Alicia West's Oriental 
tinting. She adds : 

". . . Coll. & Mrs. G. Dyke and their family are come to reside at the 
Vicarage at Tunbridge. Our old domestick Mrs. J. Killick was confined last week 
with a little girl. Mrs. Montague gave her first Dinner Party at the Cottage on 
Monday ; she walked to Broomham with her Daughter to return our visit, in full 
dress, attended by their Footman in a like costume. ... A cavalcade of five 
Carriages & four passed Broomham on Tuesday Morning, I understand it was the 
Family from Beauport on their route to Dover, from whence they intended to 
embark for Italy. . . ." 

The commissions, as we learn from the next letter, were executed satisfactorily ; 
but a deplorable accident to Sir William necessitated his going to town himself. 

' ' Broomham, June 14th, 1830. 

. . . Mr. & Mrs. Denny Ashburnham have passed the last week with us, and 
left Broomham for London this Morning. They appeared much gratified by their 
visit ; Mr. Denny's Health is improved and I find Mrs. Denny Ashburnham a sensible 


intelligent young Woman, her musical talents are considerable, and highly cultivated; 
and in other respects she possesses more than common attainments. Mr. & Mrs, 
James West and their two eldest Daughters came to Winchelsea last Thursday to 
spend a few days with their son and Daughter ; the following day they dined with us, 
when we had a large Family Party. Unfortunately on that morning Sir William's 
Teeth (which have been for some time in a tottering state) gave way, and came out, 
which prevented his dining with his Friends or deriving that Pleasure from their 
Society which he had anticipated, since which he has found the State of his mouth so 
uncomfortable that he determined on going to Town this morning to consult Mr. 
Bell. Mr. James West drove his party down in a Phaeton, intending to make a 
good deal of use of it during their stay, but they have been particularly unfortunate 
in the weather ; and Sir William's unlucky absence, added to our uncertain prospects, 
prevent our inviting them here, as we should otherwise have wished to have done. 
About a month ago Sir William had an application from Dr. Fitton, thro' his sister at 
Hastings, to hire Broomham, but at the expiration of a week we heard from Miss 
B^itton that he had engaged Brasted Place, of which he could have immediate 
possession. Sir William intends consulting with Mr. Palmer & advertising 
Broomham, but should the heavy rains continue I fear it will operate against its 

Mr. J. Ashburnham is returned home after having passed three weeks in town 
under medical advice. Dr. Reece whom he has consulted does not consider the attack 
on his chest of an alarming nature but recommends him not to attempt doing duty at 
present, & he intends engaging a curate for two months. I fear this rainy weather 
prevents my Mother from taking her drives. About a fortnight ago we had a visit 
from Mr. & Mrs. Woodgate & Miss Allnutt who drove o^^er from St. Leonards, & the 
next day Mr. & Mrs. Petley and their neice passed the morning here. I was surprised 
to hear of the addition to Capt. Hardinge's Family. . 

Sir William found Mr. Bell ' ' very civil, very attentive, and very liberal " ; his 
terms for the necessary alterations were £-^0. Writing from the Bolt and Tun Inn, 
Fleet Street, afterwards known as the Sussex Hotel, he says : 

". . . I arrived here about six o'clock on Monday. My brother John came 
up by the same coach, but he would take an outside passage, notwithstanding the 
weather was so very showery, and I was afraid he might have received injury, in his 
state of health, from the rain, but I am happy to say that I saw him yesterday, and he 
said that he was not only not the worse for travelling in the wet, but that he found 
himself already much benefited by the Change of air. He will not return to Guestling 
till the beginning of next week, as his carriage and horses will not be ready before 
that time. On my arrival here I was agreeably surprised to find my friend Dr. Lamb 
at this Hotel ; and we spent a very pleasant evening together. I am sorry to say that 
Dr. Lamb is by no means well, and he complained of symptoms of the gout. I fear 
that Dr. Lamb, like myself, is suffering under the pressure of heavy pecuniary 
embarrassment. . . ." 

Whilst in London he visited the exhibition at Somerset House with his brothers 
John and Denny, and saw the paintings of the lately deceased Sir Thomas Lawrence (g). 

(g) Probably one of the pictures exhibited was that of Miss Harriott West, immediately before 

her marriage with Mr. William Woodgate of Swaylands. This is generally considered one of 
the artists' finest productions, though having always been preserved in the family, it was not 
until lately much known. It was sold by Mrs. Ernest Woodgate of Rochester (formerly Miss 
Streatfeild, and William Woodgate's daughter-in-law) to Colnaghi for what was then considered 
the enormous (and record) sum of four thousand guineas, though we beheve a painting by the 
same artist has lately reached a still higher figure. It is related that Miss West was very un- 
punctual in keeping her appointments with Sir Thomas. One day she came in late, shghtly 
flushed and holding a watch in her hand. Her colour, her pose were so exquisite, as she advanced 
to make her excuses and beg the artist's forgiveness, that he readily replied, " Certainly, 
Madam, if you will allow me to paint you in your present attitude." The watch may be 
observed in the illustration which appears in this work. 


Amongst the miniatures, he observed " an excellent likeness of Dr. Wilmot of 
Hastings, and an indifferent one of the Hon. Gustavus Hamilton." The painting 
that chiefly demanded his admiration was one of Miss Croker. He also attended his 
solicitors, the Palmers, in Bedford Row, to whom he gave the copy of an advertise- 
ment for the letting of Broomham for two years, and for the sale of the Winchelsea 
portion of the estate by private contract. Every day he dined at the European 
Rooms, opposite the Mansion House, on " a basin of some sort of excellent soup and a 
baked rice pudding," almost the only species of sustenance of which his condition 
permitted him to partake. 

One of the first applicants for Broomham was a Mr. Williamson, as we learn 
from Lady Ashburnham. 

' ' Broomham, July i6th, 1830. 
My dear Fanny, 

As my Mother and yourself appear desirous of being made acquainted with Mr. 
Williamson's decision with regard to hiring Broomham, I lose no time in informing 
you of the result of the negotiations. Mr. Williamson came to St. Leonards with his 
Family the beginning of the week, and last Wednesday brought Mrs. Williamson here 
to see the place, when she expressed herself in strong terms of disapprobation to her 
Husband's engaging any country Residence, more particularly one in Sussex, having 
always resided in the neighbourhood of London ; and this morning Sir Wm. has 
received a letter from Mr. Williamson, stating that he finds it impossible to overcome 
the impracticahle prejudice of his wife, and therefore that he is obliged with much 
reluctance to decline becoming the tenant of Broomham. From what we could 
learn with regard to character and circumstances, he would have proved a most 
desirable Tenant, but from the apparent temper and tone of mind displayed by his 
wife, I should have felt regret at entrusting so much valuable property to her care. I 
understand she was a Daughter to one of the great Brewers, and probably had a large 
fortune. . . . Give our kind love and express our best thanks to Mrs. NouaiUe 
for her kindness in writing to Mrs. Thomas and making enquiries for a Residence at 
Brussels for us, and we shall feel much indebted to you to communicate the answer. 
Mr. Wynch has applied for the refusal of Broomham for a Friend of his. 

The excitement which a general Election produces is commencing. We are told 
there will be no contest for Sussex. Mr. Herbert Curteis call'd a few days ago to 
solicit Sir Wm's support and interest. Mr. & Mrs. J. J. West with her sister are gone 
this week to visit Admiral and Mrs. Rarnin (?) who reside near Lewis. / shall begin to 
conjecture that Captn. New combe has other motives besides being introduced to my 
Mother for visiting Seal. I have seen Mrs. M. Brisco one morning ; they are to go to 
the Postern again about this time, & return in about a fortnight when they take 
Possession of their new House. Amongst the numerous enquiries that have been 
made with regard to Broomham, no objection whatever has been made to the terms on 
which it is proposed to be lett. . . ." 

Soon after this Lady Ashburnham repaired for a short visit to Seal ; Sir William 
was unable to accompany her, for he was engaged to preside at a public dinner at 
Hastings, of which he has left a full account on record : 

' ' Broomham, August 17th, 1830. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . I shall now detail to you the proceedings which took place at Hastings in 
honour of His Majesty's accession. I arrived at the Swan Hotel about five o'clock, 
over the door of which a large union flag was displayed. About half past five the 
company, which consisted of between seventy and eighty persons, sat down to an 
excellent dinner served up in the assembly room. There was one long table, a cross 
table at the top of the room for the principal persons who attended, and two short side 
tables. All the regulations of the day were very well managed. I was supported on 
my right hand by Mr, Stonestreet, and on my left by Mr. Burton, who however 
quitted at nine o'clock, as he was obliged to set out at that hour for London, to be 

examined this day respecting a suit which is now pending in the Court of Chancery. 
Amongst the gentlemen who attended this meeting, in addition to those I have 
cdready named, were Dr. Wilmot, Mr. Wynch, Mr. Peter Wynch, Mr. Richards, my 
nephew James, Capt. Brown, Capt. Jeffery (who enhvened the meeting by singing 
several very appropriate songs), Mr. Miller, Mr. Savery, one of the sons of Mr. Scrivens 
(who was the only person connected with the Corporation whom I saw in the room), 
Mr. Durrant, Mr. Collins of Winchelsea, Mr. Baker, &c. My nephew James' friend 
Mr. Sharp was not present, James imagines that he was away from home. I have the 
satisfaction to inform you that the evening passed off most harmoniously, and that the 
most perfect unanimity prevailed. The object of the meeting seemed to be well 
understood and cordially embraced. The assembly was distinguished by the most 
animated, the most enlivening conviviality, interspersed with the most enthusiastic 
bursts of loyalty. All the sentiments I uttered appeared to be generally and very 
highly approved of, and were greeted by loud and frequent peals of applause. When 
my health was given, my name was received with the loudest acclamations, which 
were redoubled when I quitted the Chair, affording a very gratifying proof that my 
conduct had given entire satisfaction. I must not omit to mention that in the course 
of the evening your health was given, and received, as it always ought to be, with the 
most rapturous plaudits. You cannot imagine how much this unexpected compliment 
(unexpected at a political dinner) warmed my bosom with delight ; and it affords me 
great pleasure now to report it to you. I left Hastings about ten o'clock in the 
evening and reached Broomham at half past eleven. 

I now turn to quite a different subject, but on which I have information to send 
you, which on many accounts I know you will be glad to hear. My Bailiff George 
Kennard has taken a small farm at Pembury belonging to a gentleman of the name of 
Fowler, whose father formerly resided at Spring Grove [the property of the late 
Henry Woodgate, Mrs. Musgrave Brisco's father]. Young Mr. Fowler and his 
brother called upon me yesterday to enquire the character of Kennard ; and the 
character which I could justly give him was so satisfactory that Mr. Fowler 
immediately let Kennard the farm which he is to enter upon at old Michaelmas. 
Although Kennard does not suit me as a servant, yet I really, sincerely think he 
will make a very good tenant. I am in hopes, therefore, that this arrangement 
may prove beneficial to all parties. . . ." 

His next letter is written after the receipt of alarming news from Seal. A 
serious change had occurred in the state of Mrs. Humphry's health, and the worst 
apprehensions for her safety were excited. He mentions his intention of joining the 
party at Seal after a few days. 

' ' Broomham, August 21st, 1830. 

. . . In consequence of the Letter you have received from our friend 
Mrs. Lewis Mackenzie suggesting the idea that she and the Major have some thoughts 
of visiting St. Leonards, I think I ought to lose no time in proposing to Major Mac- 
kenzie the plan I have had in view, for an exchange of residences, offering him 
Broomham for six months, on condition that we may be permitted to occupy his 
house in Connaught Square during the same period. The adoption of this plan will 
not in any degree interfere with any arrangement you may wish to make for staying 
with your Mother. I should not be at aU surprized if the Mackenzies have had an 
intimation, through Dr. Lamb, of my intention of offering them Broomham, and that 
Mrs. Lewis Mackenzie's Letter was written partly to sound you on the subject before 
they came to a final determination respecting the taking up a temporary abode at 
St. Leonards. 

My nephew James walked over with me on Thursday last to Mountfield ; Dr. 
Lamb (A) was not at home, but we saw the Ladies who enquired very kindly after 

(h) Thomas Philip Lamb, Esq., of Court Lodge, Mountfield, M.P. for Rye, died in 1819. It 

is supposed that Dr. Lamb was a son or brother of his. 


you. Dr. Lamb was engaged at the town-hall at Rye on important and very 
urgent public business. I am sorry to inform you that the family at Mountfield 
were greatly alarmed by authentic information that it was the intention of the mob 
of Rye to attack their house last Wednesday night. Dr. Lamb applied for and 
obtained a guard of soldiers, which prudent precaution probably intimidated his 
enemies, as the premeditated attack was not made on that night, but the family 
think it is only postponed. This is a sad state of things ! After our return from 
Mountfield I dined with James and his wife at Winchelsea. . . ." 

The reply shews that Mrs. Humphry's life was despaired of, though she managed, 
in fact, to recover. 

" . . . I think your plan of offering Broomham to Mr. & Mrs. Mackenzie for a 
term of six months a very eligible one. . . . It is very unfortunate that Sir 
Alexander Crichton is absent, not that I think medical aid would be of any avail in 
my dear Mother's case. Mr. & Mrs. Petley have just called ; they made many 
enquiries after you, and desired their kind regards. Poor Mrs. Nouaille visits us 
daily, and has promised to pass the period of my absence here which will be a great 
comfort to Fanny. . . ." 

Sir William passed a few days at Seal, and on his return at the beginning of 
October has some trifling domestic news to relate, such as the loss of four ducks, 
stolen out of the park by some itinerant hop-pickers ; the state of the house and 
garden and particulars of his journey down. He adds : 

" I am sorry to say that the miscellaneous intelligence I have to communicate 
is chiefly of a melancholy nature. A dreadful accident took place on Friday last on 
Fairlight down. Sir Frederick Baker (whom you may recollect to have met at Mrs. 
Camac's) was walking near Mr. Milward's mill, which was at work at the time, and 
being near sighted he approached too near to one of the shafts, one of which struck 
him on the head, and now lies without any hopes of recovery. 

I regret to inform you that our old and benevolent friend Miss Milward was 
seized with a fit on Sunday last, and was obliged to be carried out of church. She is 
in some degree recovered, but she has not been out of her house since Sunday ; I am 
grieved to add that her medical attendants consider the attack which she has 
experienced to be of the most serious, the most alarming description. You will 
receive to-morrow, Monday, October 4th, by the ten o'clock Hastings coach, a 
package containing three pheasants, two partridges and a goose. . . ." 

Two days later he writes what he calls a supplement to his last letter, in 
which he describes his farming affairs. It seems that he had suddenly, and almost 
unexpectedly, sustained some heavy financial blow in connection with the Winchelsea 
estate, which occasioned several journeys to town, and was the cause of a general 
reduction of expenditure. To this, too, may be attributed his resolution of letting 
Broomham and living in a less expensive manner elsewhere, as he probably felt that 
at Guestling he was obliged to maintain a certain establishment and expenditure. 
One of the measures adopted, so it seems, was to take in hand some of his land that 
had been given up by the tenants, and retain it m his own occupation, managed by 
his bailiff. The details of his clover, his barley, and his sheep, are too minute for the 
general reader. 

He continues : — 

" George Kennard quits my service on Monday next, and Charles Wilson will 
take possession of my cottage the next day, but as I shall have several arrangements 
to settle with Wilson, I am afraid I shall not be able to leave Broomham until 
towards the end of next week. ... I have great satisfaction in informing you 
that Mr. Brisco told me that Miss Milward is recovered from her late illness, and that 
it is now considered that her attack was not of so dangerous a nature as was at first 
apprehended. The unfortunate Sir Frederick Baker is dead, and shocking to relate 


his wife Lady Baker was present when the fatal accident took place. Lady Baker had 
cautioned her husband not to get too near the shafts of the mill, but unhappily the 
caution was not attended to. When I arrived at Broomham on Saturday evening 
I found a parcel here from my brother Denny containing a drawing, a present from 
one of Mrs. Denny Ashburnham's sisters. The drawing, which is very beautiful, 
is executed with a pencil, . . . 

Sir Godfrey Webster, I hear, is now residing at the George Inn at Battle, and that 
he has breakfeisted with Lady Webster at the Abbey, and has driven her out in her 
poney-chaise ; this looks like symptoms of reconciliation, which, I hope will be 
eventually accomplished. Sir Godfrey, I am told, is in a deplorable state of health ; 
excesses of every kind have broken up an originally good constitution. [It will be 
remembered that Battle Abbey, until lately, had been tenanted by the Bartons]. 
Mr. Musgrave Brisco has just sent me a brace of pheasants and a hare. I have 
sent the hare and one of the pheasants to Mrs. John Ashburnham, the other I shall 
have dressed at home ; as I have sent game to Seal so lately, I imagined you would 
not wish to have any more at present." 

Three days later on 8th October he writes again, with more particulars of the 
garden and farm. He states that the wool at the sheephouse had been weighed, and 
found to be worth £350 ; and that he had good reason for thinking that the produce of 
the sheep house farm would altogether be much more considerable than his brother 
John anticipated, notwithstanding the disadvantages attendant on an entering 

' ' I met Mr. Frederick North yesterday, and was sorry to find from him that the 
family had not heard from his brother Charles, at which they begin to be rather 
uneasy. Poor Mr. Dome died the day before yesterday. He departed this life at 
Fairlight Place. I understand that he had been for some time in a very declining 
state of health. There is to be a Public Meeting held at the Swan Hotel, Hastings, 
on Tuesday next for the purpose of establishing and organizing a district Bible 
Society for Hastings and its vicinity. The Earl of Chichester has accepted of the 
office of president, and wiU certainly take the chair on the occasion. I am to be one of 
the vice-presidents, and shall consequently attend ; I hope the design will be well 
supported, as I consider district Bible Societies to be very useful and beneficial Insti- 
tutions. You need not be apprehensive that I shall incur much expense by this 
undertaking ; I shall only subscribe one guinea." 

On the nth he writes again : 

" . . . I am sorry to say that depredations of a serious nature are commencing 
in this parish. About a week ago Mrs. Montague had her larder broke open at 
Guestling cottage and robbed of the greater part of the provisions which it contained. 
The larder is detached from the house and therefore in an exposed situation. But 
Mrs. Montague has a fierce dog which she considered as a guard, notwithstanding 
which the robbers effected their purpose. Previous to this my brother John had a 
pig killed and stolen in a most audacious manner. In the night all my brother's pigs 
were driven out of his farm yard, when the robbers selected one which they killed in 
my wood, adjoining to Ford's house, in which wood some of the remains were after- 
v/ards found, together with a stout club such as are used by the smugglers. No 
traces of the perpetrators have yet been discovered. On Saturday night my brother's 
bailiff William Knight seized the notorious young Watson in an attempt to break 
open the lock of the place where the rabbits are kept. Watson was taken into 
custody, but yesterday being Sunday the magistrates were not able to act ; Watson, 
however, was put in confinement and will be examined this day, when he will 
unquestionably be committed to the county jail to take his trial. 

Cooke certainly quits my church-house farm ; indeed he has not money sufficient 
to carry on the business. My brother John, as one of the trustees under my father's 
will, consents to manage the concern until an eligible, and responsible, tenant can be 


found. As Cooke has got no house we allow him to stay where he is till Lady day on 
his paying an adequate rent for the dwelling. . . ." 

Three days after this letter Sir William set out for Seal, where he spent nearly a 
month — unless in the interval he visited London, as had been suggested previously — 
and returned the first week in November. Lady Ashburnham writes to her Mother, 
who seems to have recovered from her attack : — 

' ' Broomham, Novr. 8th, 1830. 
My dear Mother, 

We reached Broomham Tuesday Eveng about seven o'clock after a prosperous 
and pleasant journey. We passed an hour with our Friends at Dryhill, where we 
added to the number of our Packages. The weight of our Luggage delayed us longer 
on the road than usual. We hope yourself and dear Fanny have been well since 
our departure ; I trust I need not say with how much Pleasure I reflect on the great 
kindness we received during our late agreeable visit at Seal, and only wish our Resi- 
dence was nearer, that we could enjoy the happiness of meeting more frequently. 
On our arrival here we had the satisfaction of finding our Establishment and every- 
thing connected with home going on in good order, but I am much concerned to add 
that the same bad spirit, which has lately been displayed in Kent, has spread into 
this part of the country. The night after our return we saw from our front windows 
a large Fire blazing tremendously in the direction of Battle. We have since learnt 
that it was the stacks of corn belonging to Mr. Emery, the master of the Inn there, 
which were entirely consumed. The next night a large Fire was discerned from 
the back of the House which proved to be the stacks &c. of Mr. Farncomb, an 
opulent Farmer at Icklesham, which were also entirely consumed ; several other 
Fires have also taken place in this country. One night last week the stacks &c. 
belonging to one of Mr. Fuller's tenants were burnt to the ground. He has gener- 
ously offered a reward of two hundred Pounds for the discovery of the Incendiary. 
Mr. Cobbet has been lecturing in this Neighbourhood, and many strangers of a 
doubtful description have been observed, who it is thought have been endeavouring 
to excite a spirit of discontent amongst the labourers towards their employers, as 
well as a spirit of disloyalty towards the government. Meetings of the Magistrates 
have frequently taken place, and it is earnestly to be hoped their efforts may lead to 
some discovery. 

I wish I had more agreeable Intelligence to communicate, and must now 
turn to other subjects. ... I found a kind Letter from Mrs. Camac on our 
return and a Card announcing a long list of Parties for the Winter. The two Miss 
Millwards were at the last Ball. Miss Millward danced a great part of the Evening, 
therefore I imagine she is entirely recovered from her late Indisposition. . . ." 

Cobbett was well-known in his day as a political firebrand, a centre of disaffection 
and sedition ; at the present day, however, his powers of exciting discontent would 
be considered commonplace. In 1830, the most deplorable agrarian outrages 
were being perpetrated throughout England, especially in Kent and Sussex. The 
farmers' crops were freely burnt and their houses plundered until January, 183 1, 
when stern measures of repression were adopted. England was convulsed over the 
Reform question, and feelings ran high everywhere. While the Ashburnhams 
were at Seal, a fire was observed from Coghurst one evening to be blazing exactly in 
the direction of Broomham ; Mr. Musgrave Brisco hurriedly collected his servants 
and some labourers and went to the rescue, but found the whole thing a false alarm*. 

The next year Sir William sent Miss Humphry some material for her album ; 
his remarks on the occasion form a very good sample of his style. 
My dear Miss Humphry, " Broomham, April 15th, 1831. 

By favour of Miss Jesse Crichton, who returns to the Grove on Monday next, 
I have an opportunity of sending you some food for your album, which, upon the 

* See Reference Sheet. 


whole, will I hope prove acceptable, though every dish may not be equally piquant 
or nutritious. I promised to be your purveyor, and in right of that office I present 
this as a first course. Taste differs so much amongst individuals, that many things 
which may be palatable to one are by no means relished by another. Perhaps 
therefore you may deem some of the verses too tart, and others too flat ; if this is 
the case, I have only to say, I particularly request that you will, without the smallest 
hesitation, fling them away. It is my wish to assist, not to dictate, and I shall be 
amply rewarded if any of my selections are adopted. 

In regard to my own compositions, it does not become me to venture an opinion ; 
but all the other pieces I consider to possess some merit in their respective lines. 
Amongst them you will find a great variety of thought, sentiment, style, and versifi- 
cation. I esteem variety highly desirable, ii not an absolutely necessary qualification 
in an album. The grave, the gay, the humourous, and the pathetic, like hght and 
shade in a picture, heighten the effect of each other by the powerful operation of 
contrast. . . . Together with the poetry, I send you the Humphry arnis 
emblazoned, which will make a very appropriate frontispiece to your album. It is 
not so well executed as I could wish, but you will recollect that it is a first attempt, 
and that I am not so much at home with my pencil as I am with my pen. You will 
cut away the paper close to the drawing, and paste the Heraldic bearings on a leaf 
at the beginning of your Album, where I think it will have a tolerably good effect. . . 
I had a narrow escape yesterday from a mad dog. I had been to attend a 
parish meeting at the workhouse, and in coming through my Grove in my way to 
Broomham, I heard some men (who were running) exclaim — a mad dog ! and I saw 
a dog galloping down the road towards me. From the Warning I had received 
I had time by rushing into the rough part of the Grove to escape the impending 
danger, an escape for which I am, and ought to be, very thankful ; for I 
consider Hydrophoebia to be one of the most dreadful calamities to which our nature 
is subject. The mad dog was pursued through the parishes of Guesthng and Fair- 
light, and was at last killed between Fairlight place and the sea. In its course it bit 
several dogs, but providentially it did not injure any human creature. I am sorry 
to say that several mad dogs have made their appearance in this neighbourhood. 
A mad dog bit two or three dogs lately at Winchelsea. Ten of my sheep, (Lambs 
of last year) belonging to the sheep-house farm, which were put out to keep at 
Heathfield, were bit by a mad dog, and were obliged to be killed. 

I esteem the portrait of your dear Mother to be a striking, but by no means a 
flattering likeness. It is executed, upon the whole, much better than I expected ; 
though the colouring in the countenance, especially in the ej^es, is certainly too 
faint. . . ." 

The portrait referred to was a painting by Mr. Hazlehurst. One painting was 
sent to Broomham, the other retained by Miss Humphry*. 

In August and September the Ashburnhams visited Seal, from which Sir WilHam 
returned first. He writes on 13th September, the day of his return, with an account 
of the various domestic and other concerns ; everything had gone on well in their 
absence under the superintendence of Mrs. Impett, the fruit (especially the Ribstone 
pippins) was abundant and of very good quality ; the flower garden was disappointing, 
but the farm had turned out well. The oats and barley were got up in good condition, 
and the brakes cut and for the most part carried. He continues : 

"... Between my hour of dinner, and taking my tea, I went to the parsonage 
where I found my brother John, Mrs. John Ashburnham and all their family 
quite well. Johnney is not gone to school ; I imagine he will not return to Camberwell 
any more. It was very fortunate that I did see my brother immediately, since he 
had received no notification of the meeting that is to be held this Day for the purpose 

* See Reference Sheet. 


of adjusting the plan for the improvement of Rye harbour, and the embankment 
of the adjacent lands. It is very extraordinary that my brother has had no notice, 
because the chairman at the last general meeting promised my brother that he 
should be informed when the next meeting was to take place. My brother will 
attend the meeting this day, and if, before I close this letter, I can learn what business 
was transacted there, I will send you the particulars." 

He goes on to say that Mr. and Mrs. Howard Elphinstone had called to ask them 
to the Hastings and St. Leonards' regatta, which took place under the patronage 
of Mr. Howard Elphinstone and his brother-in-law Mr. Herbert Curteis ; and that 
Mrs. Camac had sent them invitations to all the amusements of the race week. 
However, * ' Broomham appears very dull in the absence of the ruling star, with 
whose cheering beams it is usually enlivened," and Sir William employed a consider- 
able part of his time in writing letters to Seal, whither he sent too, a quantity of 
fruit and some partridges, shot that day (Sept. ist). 

The letter containing an account of the Rye Harbour meeting is missing ; and the 
next is dated 13th Sept. He says : 

". . . My brother John came here to say, that a meeting would be held 
at Rye on Monday next to take into consideration a plan which it is hoped will 
settle for ever the supposed claims of the Crown, but which plan is connected with 
so many legal points which my brother does not think himself competent to decide 
upon without Mr. Palmer's professional assistance that he has written to him to 
request him to come down to attend the meeting. My brother, hkewise, does not 
chuse on so important a subject to incur the sole responsibility. I shall write to Mr. 
Palmer to invite him to take up his abode at Broomham, and I expect to see him 
here on Saturday or Sunday next. As Mr. Palmer is coming on my business I am 
bound to show him every attention, more particularly so as his house in town is at 
all times most hospitably opened for my reception. I wish also to have an interview 
with Mr. Palmer , and have some conversation with him on various topicks. . . . 
I have just this moment heard that Mrs. John Ashburnham was safely delivered 
this morning of a son, and that both the Mother and the child are going on remark- 
ably well. 

The Princess Sophia of Gloucester has taken a house at St. Leonards ; she wished 
very much to have had Bohemia, had it been furnished. On the day of the coronation 
Her Royal Highness laid the first stone of the new church which is to be built at 
St. Leonards amidst the applauding acclamations of the people, a good work 
very properly commenced on such a day. Mr. Capel Molyneaux delivered a 
prayer on the occasion. Some hundreds of the lower classes of the people were 
amply regaled with refreshments in a booth which the Princess honoured with her 
presence. Loyalty and good feeling were the order of the day. . . ." 

SiUTOunded by so many distractions, Sir William decided to prolong, although 
impatiently, his absence from Seal. With characteristic consideration, he deemed 
that the prolonged visit of a gentleman might cause some inconvenience at Seal, 
while the stay of his wife would be all the more valuable because of its extension. 
Besides, his larming concerns at that period required his presence and inspection. 
The difficulty of selling commodities and of obtaining payment after their sale he 
declared to be almost incredible. 

Without further particulars than axe at present available, it is impossible for us 
to understand the question of the Winchelsea lands. An Act of Parliament was 
passed in July, 1830, to enable Commissioners to raise additional funds on the tolls 
by way of mortgage or otherwise, and to amend an act passed in 1801, which was an 
Act for more effectually improving the old Harbour of Rye, and to appoint new 
Commissioners. Mr. Palmer had gone for three weeks into Yorkshire and was 
unable to attend the meeting ; consequently Sir William Ashburnham was enabled to 


set out for Seal the next week. The next letter of his that we have was written on the 
occasion of his sending the Keepsake to Mary Anne Humphry, After this the 
correspondence is taken up by Lady Ashburnham. 

" Broomham, Dec. 14th, 1831. 
My dear Fanny, 

Being considerably in arrears with you on the score of Letters, I now sit down 
to liquidate a part of the obligations. . . . We had a most agreeable visit at 
Coghurst & had the Pleasure of meeting Mr. & Mrs. West, who were passing 
a few days there previous to taking possession of their Lodgings at Hastings. 
Mrs. Brisco appears in very good health, & was looking beautiful. This morning 
we went to Hastings and paid visits to many of our Friends there ; at Mrs. 
Shadwell's we met Mrs. Luxford & her Daughters who were staying in Hastings 
for the benefit of Elizabeth Luxford's health, but I am happy to say she did 
not appear much of an Invalid, & was extremely agreeable. Mrs. Luxford seemed 
really glad to renew her acquaintance with me, & enquired with much kindness 
& interest after you all. We called afterwards on Mrs. Lipscomb who was looking 
sadly, she had been confined to the sofa for some time. 

I know Maryanne will feel an interest in hearing the particulars of Miss Brown- 
ing's unfortunate marriage, for unfortunate I find it is considered by her true friends. 
From the most authentic information I can obtain I learnt that when Dr. Godwin 
first made proposals she laid before him a statement of her affairs, which were much 
embarrassed, the receipts never having met the expenditure since she first took 
the house in Pelham Place. A similar statement was also sent to her own Friends 
who, under the consideration that the distrest members of the Family had been 
chiefly supported, undertook to make an arrangement with the different Trades- 
people to whom she was indebted. Under these circumstances the Marriage took 
place. The Friends afterwards not coming forward so speedily as was expected, 
the creditors became clamorous, & Dr. Godwin considering that he had made himself 
responsible took himself off for France, & his poor wife went to her sister at 
Tunbridge Wells. The little property she possest has since been sold under an 
execution for Rent. As it is clearly ascertained she was becoming more 
embarassed every year I think she was wrong in not sooner breaking up the 
Establishment, but she probably hoped from the increasing importance of the 
place that future success might retrieve past misfortunes & enable her to extricate 
herself from the difficulties of her situation. I learnt from Miss Luxford that 
Dr. Godwin was formally Curate of Ewhurst, that he was considered a man of 
generally bad character, an habitual gambler, & that the Fortune he once possest 
was supposed to be much lessened if not altogether dissipated. She appeared 
very much to regret that Mrs. Godwin should have been induced to form so 
unfortunate & precipitate a connexion. 

We were very glad to hear a good account of Mr. Engleheart & happy to find 
he has regained his Health. I hope Lady Crichton is relieved from her anxiety 
for the safe return of Sir Alexander to his Family. About a fortnight ago I had 
a visit from Lady Crawford accompanied by Miss Sayer ; she exprest a great wish 
to become acquainted with Sir William, having formerly been intimate with many of 
the members of the Ashburnham Family." 

The next two letters are from Sir William. The first is chiefly concerned with 
the election of Mercy Bartholomew, a little girl, into the asylum for the rehef of 
Deaf and Dumb Children, a society which engaged his warmest sympathy and 
active interest. He obtained for the object of his solicitude from eight hundred to 
one thousand votes. He relates that his ' ' relation Mr. Charles Ashburnham, brother 
to the Earl of Ashburnham, is going to be married to Miss Murray, a young lady 
highly accomplished, and possessing a large fortune." The second, dated 24th 
February, 1832, contains an acknowledgment of three large nets from Miss Humphry 

made by herself, to protect the wall fruit from the assaults of birds. She continues : — 
' ' Mrs. West of the Postern appeared to leave Hastings with much reluctance. 
In addition to her relations and friends at Hastings and in its vicinity, she had many 
old acquaintance who are now become settled residents at St. Leonards, particularly 
the Burtons, Mrs. and Miss May, and the Miss Morleys. St. Leonards has been much 
improved of late by the erection of several new and very elegant stone edifices in the 
villa style. Foundations for houses are digging at various different places between 
Hastings and St. Leonards and I think, before long, it will become all one town. I 
am sorry to hear that Mr. Burton has been very unwell for some time past. The 
Hon. Mr. Percy Ashburnham is now at the Hotel at St. Leonards. My brother John 
and I called upon him there but did not find him at home. He has been recom- 
mended to St. Leonards for the benefit of his health. The Earl of Ashburnham 
pays such marked attentions to Miss Gilbert that it is imagined a matrimonial 
alliance between the parties is hkely to take place. Miss Gilbert is very amiable 
and very handsome ; she was considered to be the most beautiful girl that attended 
the last Hastings Ball. 

Capt. and Mrs. Wilford are now resident at Shorter's cottage. Mrs. Wilford 
I think you may remember to have formerly met as Miss Frances Denne. Mrs. 
Wilford has performed a feat, of which I beheve few Ladies, except herself, can boast, 
namely that she has compleatly sailed round the globe. They went to New South 
Wales, where Capt. Wilford's regiment was stationed, by the Cape of Good Hope, 
and through the Indian Ocean ; and on their return to England, They crossed the 
Pacific Ocean, and entered the Atlantic through the straights of Magellan. Mr. 
Wilford describes the climate of Sydney as very hot ; but that the country abounded 
with a profusion of flowers brilliant in their hues and various in their forms. 

. . . We shall be most happy to accept of your mother's kind invitation, 
and pay you a visit at Seal as soon as circumstanzes will permit ; but I am sorry to 
say, that the parish of Guestling is in a very disorganized and discordant state, and 
I must stay here till some arrangement has taken place respecting the appointment of 
parish officers for the ensuing year. . . ." 

The marriage of Charles Ashburnham, who was secretary to the Embassy at 
Constantinople, took place in February, 1832 ; but nothing further came of the matter 
between the Earl of Ashburnham and Miss Gilbert. It would seem that the visit to 
Seal duly took place ; but that in July an alarming change in Mrs. Humphry's 
health occurred, and Lady Ashburnham hastened to her beside. This unfortunate 
event, however, resulted in the gain to us of several interesting letters from Sir 

" Broomham, July 17th, 1832. 

. . . After parting with you on Fairlight Down, I went to Rocklands where 
I found Mr. and Mrs. Milward at breakfast, and I partook of a dish of cocoa with 
them. Afterwards we called in Charles Wilson, and Mr. Milward's shepherd, and we 
held a consultation on the management of South Down sheep. Mr. Milward says 
that his shepherd was brought up on the South downs, and that he considers him as a 
remarkably intelligent man in his line. In answer to the numerous interrogations 
which I put to the Shepherd, I collected the following information. In the first 
place Mr. Milward's flock is folded the whole year round, except during the severest 
of the winter months, when they are placed in a warm, roomy close well littered with 
straw ; thus the whole of the manure is preserved for the benefit of the land. This 
you see exactly accords with your ideas on this part of the subject. To effect this, 
however, the flock must be well fed. The shepherd strongly recommends dry food for 
sheep in the winter season, but not of an expensive kind ; he has used oat-straw, 
and pea-haulm, and even barley-straw with great success. Secondly, Mr. Milward 
attributes the high price he usually gets for his lambs, not only to the goodness of his 
breed, but likewise to the pains he takes to furnish his lambs with an abundance of 


nutritious food immediately after they are weaned, and thus to force them forward. 
The best food for this purpose he esteems to be a second crop of clover, and where this 
cannot be procured then the rowings of meadow land after the hay has been carried. 
I shall reserve rowings in my meads for my lambs, which are to be weaned as soon 
as the ewes are shorn. I cannot recapitulate in a letter all that passed concerning 
the best modes of employing artificial food ; but I shall conclude this subject by 
observing that I find a large portion of my ewes are much too old for profit, and that 
I have been in an erroneous habit of keeping them too long. In consequence of this 
information I have determined, if possible, to turn out one hundred and twenty 
ewes this year. I have engaged Mr. Milward to supply me with forty ewes, and 
twenty ewe Lambs. I partake of a family dinner to-day at Rocklands with Mr. and 
Mrs. Milward but to meet no company. 

My brother John went to Coghurst on Saturday, and saw Mr, Musgrave 
Brisco, who treated him in the most friendly manner, and assured him that he 
would give him any information in his power, but he was not aware that his 
father was a bidder for my Winchelsea estate, and that he was confident that if his 
father had had any such intentions he would have named it to him ; he finished by 
saying that he thought my Winchelsea estate must be worth more than twenty six 
thousands pounds. From this I conclude that either there were no real bidders at the 
sale, or that we shall not be able to trace them. I fear therefore that I have no 
chance of selling that property at present. 

I have one piece of bad news (in a httle way) to communicate, namely, that 
there was an attempt made on Saturday night to steal your geese ; and although the 
robbers were disturbed, they succeeded in carrying off one young goose. Jane was 
awakened by the geese making an unusual noise, when she flung up her bedroom 
window, and, altho it was almost dark, she plainly saw a man in dark trousers and 
a light- coloured jacket, with a goose under his arm, hurrying through the door 
that leads from the back-yard to the pleasure grounds. It was very extraordinary 
that the dogs took no notice of what was passing whatever. They must I think have 
had something given them. I shall take some precautions to prevent such outrages 
in future ; but with what success I know not. 

My brother John's ox-team has been ploughing my Smugglers field this morning, 
and I am to have the use of this team at present for their keep, I hope in the course 
of a few days to purchase two cart horses, one of my brother John and one of Benfield, 
but it is not quite settled." 

The next letter refers to the proposed sale, not of the Winchelsea estate, but of 
Broomham, which was a property perfectly distinct from the other ; it is dated 
20th July. 

" I received yesterday a Letter from Mr, Palmer, from which I send you the 
following extract. Mr. Palmer says, ' I have been able to call upon Mr. Humphreys 
this morning, when I verbally described to him, as well as I was able, the Broomham 
estate ; and required of him on whose account it was that the advertisement was 
inserted. He says that a Mr. Hibbert left by his will a very large sum of money, and 
directed that a portion of it should be laid out in the purchase of a freehold estate in 
one of the counties mentioned in the advertisement you saw ; and that the purchase is 
to be made under the direction of the Court of Chancery, and to be approved of by 
Master Winkfield, a Master in Chancery, Mr. Humphreys says that the person who is 
to possess the estate prefers one in Hampshire, but if I will furnish him (Mr. Hum- 
phreys) with the particulars of the diflferent farms, the rent. Land-tax, tythes, 
poor-rates, and other usual particulars, with the price, it shall be laid before the 
Master. The money to be laid out in the purchase of an estate is £40,000 or 

It is impossible to ascertain how this negotiation may end, but it is certain that 
there is a bona fide purchaser, and all the parties appear to be respectable. I think 


trustees are more likely to give a full and fair price than any other persons. The 
terms I ask are thirty years purchase on the actual rents, four thousand pounds for 
the mansion, and the timber to be valued. Even my brother John is of opinion 
that if these terms can be procured it would be advisable to agree to them. 
Both Mr. Palmer and Mr. Hare thought these terms fair, and that perhaps they 
might be obtained. I know the name of Hibbert very well in the commercial or 
mercantile world ; but I do not at present recollect any thing about the family. I 
shall forward to Mr. Palmer the information he requires as soon as possible. 

After dispatching my Letter to you on Tuesday, I proceeded to Rocklands to 
dine with Mr. and Mrs. Milward, where I met a very small party consisting of the two 
Miss Birds and Mr. Foyster, the new Rector of All Saints and St. Clements, Hastings. 
The Miss Birds spoke very highly of the sermon which my nephew James preached 
last Sunday at St. Mary for the benefit of the Society for promoting Christian Know- 
ledge. They said that his discourse was very impressive and excellent, but rather 
too long. The collection made at the Church doors in behalf of the Institution 
amounted to upwards of twenty pounds, a very good collection considering there 
is so little company, at present, in Hastings. . . . 

The Reform dinner took place yesterday at Hastings. I am told it was admir- 
ably arranged and conducted, and gave universal satisfaction. The most perfect 
order, regularity and harmony prevailed. The poor inhabitants of Hastings were 
entertained with a dinner in the priory meads, when between eighty and ninety 
tables were placed for their reception, at which five thousand four hundred persons 
sat down. The number of people assembled, including spectators, was estimated at 
fourteen thousand. The health of the King was drank with enthusiastic shouts of 
Loyalty. The town of Hastings was ornamented with green boughs, and flags of 
various descriptions ; the flags, amounting to above a hundred, were afterwards 
removed to the place of entertainment. In the latter part of the day a variety of 
amusements were prepared to entertain the populace ; and the whole concluded 
with a display of fireworks. . . ." 

His next letter, dated 26th July, intimates his intention shortly of being at Seal, 
and deplores the unfavourable turn in Mrs. Humphry's illness. He says : 

" . . . I have just finished a Schedule of my Broomham estate for Mr. 
Palmer, containing the name of every field, the name of every occupier, the number 
of acres, the species of land, the rent, and every other kind of information which 1 
think can be required, such as the amount of tithes, poor-rates, &c. This task has 
given me a great deal of trouble, and has taken up a large portion of my time. I 
anxiously await the result of the pending negotiation, as almost every day's experience 
convinces me that I never shall be comfortable until I have sold the Broomham 
estate ; because no other measure will afford me so good an income together with a 
regular payment of the same, not subject to contingencies. On this important 
subject, however, 1 will say more when I see you. ... I am extremely sorry 
to hear that Philip Nouaille's expedition [to Canada] has commenced so very 
unpropitiously ; but I hope that the next accounts will be more favourable, and I 
entertain no doubt but that he will ultimately succeed. 

I dined on Tuesday at Coghurst with Mr. and Mrs. Musgrave Brisco, and Mr. 
and Mrs. West ; and I was glad to see our friends there looking so well. Old Mr. 
Brisco arrived at Hastings on Tuesday ; and Mr. and Mrs. William Camac are making 
a tour through Wales. I was very sorry to learn from Mrs. West that my friend 
Alderman Atkins {i) had lately lost his youngest daughter. The young lady, I 
believe, has always been very unhealthy. I see also by the newspapers that Alderman 
Farebrother has lately lost a daughter. 

(») Mr. John Pelly Atkins, the only surviving son of Alderman Atkins, married the only 

daughter of J. G. Children, and grand-daughter of George Children of Ferox Hall Tonbridge. 

. . , Charles Wilson gave me notice, in a very respectful manner, that he 
should wish to quit my service at Michaelmas next, and at the same time thanking 
me for all the favours he had received. The reason he alledged for taking this step 
was, in the first place, that he had never had good health since he has been at Guestling 
and he thought the air did not agree with him ; secondly, that the people in the 
parish had taken such a dislike to him as to render his situation very uncomfortable. 
He says he cannot account for this dislike unless it is because, whilst he manages my 
farming affairs, he will see that my workmen do a full and fair day's work, which he 
thinks they are not inclined to do. . . . My haymaking goes on very prosper- 
ously, and I believe I shall have (including the stack in the marsh) at least one hundred 
tons. . ." 

Broomham was duly advertised to be sold by private contract ; and the following 
brief description is taken from the somewhat lengthy particulars. 

The property comprised some 2,290 acres of land in the parishes of GuestHng, 
Icklesham, Pett and Rye, including Broomham house and park, outbuildings and 
stabling for twelve horses, keeper's lodge, &c. ; the Manors of Heigham and French 
Court ; the ruins of the ancient castle of Winchelsea called the Camber Castle ; and 
the Bailiwick or office of Bailiff of the Town of New Winchelsea. The principal 
farms Vv'ere the Sheephouse Farm, 883 acres ; Place Farm, 155 acres ; the Park, 
consisting of 150 acres and some lands adjoining ; and 336 acres of wood, besides 
smaller farms, cottages, &c., &c. This was of the yearly value of £2,500 ; 
Broomham house ;^ioo 
The Estate :^i.5oo 

Winchelsea Estate :^900 


This at thirty years purchase would represent a sum of £75,000 ; but fortunately, 
so it seems to us, no purchaser came forward. It is evident that the Winchelsea 
estate is here included. 

In the interval between this, and the next letter that is preserved, Sir WiUiam 
had returned from Seal. He mentions his agreeable journey down in the coach, 
and has several little pieces of domestic intelligence for Lady Ashburnham, which 
may be passed over here. 

" Broomham, October nth, 1832. 

. . . I was sorry to hear that old Mr. Brisco had been extremely ill, so much 
so that Mrs. Camac had sent round cards to postpone her Monday evening party. 
I sent yesterday to enquire after him ; and the report was, that he was rather better, 
though still confined to his bed. His complaint however is rheumatism, which 
though painful and troublesome, is, I believe, never dangerous. My brother John 
went to London on Thursday last, and took John Piers with him in his way to 
school. Mrs. Ashburnham and the children at the parsonage are all well, except 
the baby, who is very poorly, and suffers much from cutting his teeth. 

When I came home, I found here a long and very civil letter from Mr. Sharpe, 
in which he nibbles at my political opinions, but without refuting them. He and 
Mrs. Shcirpe desire me to present their best compliments to you. . . . When 
absent, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to receive a Letter from my dear 
wife, more especially now, as I am very anxious to hear that you are quite well. 
You will present my Love and kindest regards to your dear Mother and your Sisters. 
I am, my dear Julia, with the tenderest love and warmest affection, your faithful 

William Ashburnham." 

His next letter, dated i6th October, announced that Durham, one of the 
Winchelsea tenants, had refused to give up possession when required to do so, after 


proper notice given ; Sir William was fully equal to the occasion, and took prompt 
measures for an ejectment, all the more so as Durham seems to have been of a 
malicious and impudent temper. There had also been difficulty over a valuation. 
At the Lewes sheep fair, notwithstanding the business being dull, Mr. Milward made 
as much as twenty-two shillings a head of his best lambs, and twenty shillings of his 
worst, which in Sir William's eyes emphasised the importance of keeping to good 
breeds. His nephew James West had been ill with English cholera, but was then 
recovered. Mr. and Mrs. William Denne, her parents (Major and Mrs. Orme) and 
sisters had just arrived at Hastings for a visit. 

Soon afterwards Sir William rejoined the party at Seal for a few days, and then 
returned to superintend matters at home, whence he writes on 4th November. A 
curious incident befell him on his return. ' ' Two gentlemen got upon the coach at 
Tunbridge, who smoked their cigars and were both very civil ; one of them amused 
me much by remarking to his companion, what a striking likeness there was between 
me and a gentleman they had dined with on the preceding day ; his companion 
concurring in this observation, the former asked me if I was related to Mr. Lozet 
of Town Mailing. I assured him I was not. This little incident entertained me, and 
I own I have some curiosity to see the person to whom I am supposed to bear so 
strong a resemblance." Travelling in the 'thirties was very different from what it 
is to-day. Either private carriages were used or the coaches. To return from Seal, 
Lady Ashburnham was recommended to secure a seat in the White Hastings Coach 
(for which she paid twenty shillings), but the place had to be taken at the office in 
London. This was done by Bishop, the driver, who left word at the Chequers, in 
Sevenoaks, whether a seat could be secured or not. When the seat was secured for 
certain, Lady Ashburnham was to write home mentioning on what day and at what 
time she would be at Fairlight Down, where the carriage would be in readiness to 
meet her. He continues : — 

" . . . I am sorry to inform you that a new and atrocious species of depre- 
dation has occurred in the parish. Last Saturday se'ennight one of my ewes was 
killed, the meat cut off from the bones, and the skeleton and the skin left in the 
field. A few days afterwards one of Mr. Thomas Breed's sheep was destroyed in a 
similar manner. The Blacksmith at Icklesham (who had but five sheep) has had one 
of them stolen. No traces have yet been discovered of the base perpetrators. With 
this exception my farming affairs appear to have gone on very well. . , . John 
Holmes [for so many years the Bailiff] has sold 51 refuse Lambs for fourteen shillings 
per head, which is the highest price which I obtained for my best Lambs at Battle 
fair. . . ." 

Sir William kept up a close fire of letters ; the next day he writes again : 
" . . . I went to Hastings yesterday, and called upon Mr. William Denne, 
to consult with him on the best mode of opening a negotiation with Sir Edward 
Hamilton for the purchase of my Winchelsea estate. Mr. Denne said he was 
acquainted with Sir Edward Hamilton, but that Sir Edward had left Hastings, and 
he imagined that he was gone to London, previous to which he knew that he 
had been over to view my property near Winchelsea. Mr. Denne told me that there 
is thirty thousand pounds vested in the funds in the names of Trustees for the benefit 
of Sir Edward Hamilton's children ; this money Sir Edward has, for some years past, 
been very anxious to transfer into Lsmd, and he prefers marsh Land. Mr. Denne 
added that he had some reason to believe that the trustees would not consent to any 
purchase which would not yield four per cent. If this is their absolute determination 
we shall not agree, but perhaps time has convinced them that no Land can be obtained 
on such terms. Mr. Denne was very friendly, and said, as he was going to town in a 
few days, he would call upon Sir Edward Hamilton, and ascertain whether he had 
any inclination to purchase my Winchelsea estate, and if that was the case he would 
refer him to Mr. Palmer for particulars. I accepted Mr. Denne's obliging offer, and 


shall await the result ; but I fear I must not entertain any very sanguine hopes from 
this quarter, though I have thought it right to make the trial. 

I saw my nephew James, yesterday ; he seems in much better health, and in 
very good spirits. He tells me that he has lately been lecturing the lower classes 
of the parishioners at St. Mary's on the important duty of receiving the Lord's 
Supper ; and with so much success that, the last time the Sacrament was administered 
at St. Mary, there were seventy additional communicants, chiefly from the middle 
and lower classes. This shows both the power and efficacy of his exhortations, and 
his zeal and assiduity in the cause of religion. James also says that he has brought 
over all the dissenters at Winchelsea, together with the principal dissenting minister, to 
the church by explaining to them (and explaining to their satisfaction) that there is no 
just and sufficent reason for them to separate from the establishment. This is a 
good work and does credit to his talents and activity, as well as to his devoted 
attachment to the cause he has undertaken to advocate. I am sorry however to add 
that he seems to run into great extremes, and to make Dr. Fearon of Ore his model. 
I beheve I wrote rather too strongly in regard to poor James' health, but I had my 
account from Mary Holmes, who always exaggerates. . . 

The Duke and Dutchess of St. Albans paid Mrs. Camac a visit for two or three 
days. They were received with great ceremony ; a grand party was invited to meet 
and entertain them ; and a band of musick was provided to play during the banquet. 
During the stay of their Graces at Hastings, Mrs. Camac took them in her carriage 
over to Winchelsea. The Dutchess was so well pleased with Hastings, that it is 
reported she has commissioned Mrs. Camac to engage a house for her. The Duke of 
Cumberland has taken two houses belonging to Mr. Thomas Breeds in Breeds' Place 
for the accomodation of himself, his family, and suite. The object of the Royal 
Duke in coming to Hastings is that his son Prince George, who labours under a serious 
complaint in his eyes, might have the benefit of the constant attendance of Sir 
Wathan WaUer. 

My brother John, Mrs. Ashburnham, and all their family are quite well. Mrs. 
John Ashburnham has lately had a Letter from her son John Piers, in which he says 
that he now likes his school very much. This is a good piece of news, and I hope will 
prove a prelude to improvement. . ." 

Two days later there is another long letter, in which Sir William ' ' flings on 
paper anything, however trivial," he can collect, and sends it with some pheasants 
(shot by John Holmes), a woodcock and some soles ; also some plants, and crimson 
perennial stocks, the seed of which he had from Mrs. Richard Streatfield of Hever. 
The woodcock was the first that season shot in the neighbourhood. He says, " I see 
from the newspapers that the Revd. William Thursby, (who married Miss Pelham) 
has resigned the living of All Saints in Northampton, which is said to be worth 
£400 per annum. I suppose that he resigned in consequence of the Bishop of his 
Diocese insisting upon his residence." It is believed that such a state of affairs was 
by no means uncommon in 1830, though the position with regard to pluralities 
was improving. He says : ' ' Give my kindest love to your dear mother, and tell her 
that I miss much, in an evening, our agreeable rubber of whist. When you see my 
Uncle Henry [Woodgate of Riverhill] give my kindest love to him, and present 
my best compliments to Mrs. Petley." With this parcel, he sent two sonnets to 
Mary Anne Humphry, of which he says : — 

' ' I believe few authors are wholly exempt from some degree of vanity ; when I 
say vanity, I do not mean a puffed up and over-weening idea of their own talents 
and productions, but a sensibility to the voice of praise, and that throb of delight 
which a writer cannot fail to feel, when any portion of his writings receives the 
approbation of those whom he esteems. You flattered me by saying that you much 
valued some Letters I had written to you on Literature and the Arts This obser- 
vation has induced me to send you a specimen of my poetry in the shape of two 


Sonnets. 1 have selected the Sonnet entitled " The Painter," because I know the 
interest you take in that charming art, the art of painting ; and I have selected the 
other Sonnet, entitled the Death of the elder Pliny, because the subject was suggested 
to me, during a visit at Seal, by reading in your mother's Library Melmoth's trans- 
lation of an epistle from the younger Pliny, in which he relates his uncle's death, and 
describes that dreadful, that fatal eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which overwhelmed 
the unfortunate cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Perhaps you will do me the 
favour to turn to this epistle, and see whether I have not strictly adhered to historic 
truth, and whether lam not fully justified in all I have asserted. 

I assure you, my dear Miss Maryanne, that it is very dangerous to praise a poet. 
If you praise a portion of his verses he will inundate you with his productions ; and if 
you praise his Letters, he will ruin you in postage. Since this Letter comes gratis, 
it is not liable to the latter objection; and I do not consider two Sonnets an inundation. 
I think, therefore, my infliction is very moderate. . . ," 

Blest imitative art ! (whose colours blend 

In rich profusion o'er the canvas spread) 
Thou raisest up or lost or absent friend. 

The loved, the great, the honoured and the dead ; 
Invaluable the aid thy power supplies. 

Which features, form, can so correctly trace, 
Which bids the absent stand before our eyes. 

And from the grave recalls the reverenced face : 
Content no varnished artifice to use, 

But placed in proper attitude and light. 
Complacently the enamoured Limner views 

The produce of his pencil with delight. 
As these existence owe to him alone, 
With a Creator's glow he smiles upon his own. 

Happy the man whose actions good and great 

Are worthy record in historic page ; 
Happy the pen that can such deeds relate 

In works the boast of each succeeding age. 
But happier far is he, who both unites, 
Whose rich-stored lines, bright, nervous, pure, refined. 
Are the reflection of his piuer mind, 
Acting as nobly as he finely writes. 
Such Pliny was — such traits his writings show, 
Such Pliny was braving the tortured wave, 
Fearless himself, but emulous to save. 
Mid horrors that from fiery mountains flow. 
Fame with no single marble was content, 
A ruined city forms his awful monument. 
On nth November, he writes in apprehension for the health of Lady Ashbum- 
ham, who had contracted an obstinate and severe cough ; he thinks the English 
climate in winter too cold for her, and proposes travelling to a more genial region. 
He announces his intention of letting his farm of Little Higham to Mr. Gutsell, a 
substantial farmer, of French Court in Fairlight, who offered him any rent he chose 
to name ; this Sir William considers preferable to retaining it in his own hands. He 
draws a lively picture of their respective conditions. " I am glad," he says, " that 
your dccir mother is not deprived by my, absence of her rubber of whist. I often 
think of the dear circle at Seal, either engaged at their amusing pastime, or in pleasing, 


cheerful, and enlivening conversation, while I am pacing my splendid rooms in 
cheerless solitude ; perhaps I ought not exactly to say solitude, as contemplation and 
the Muse are my companions." 

Sir William was doomed to many disappointments. When he writes next, 
on 13th November, he mentions having heard from Mr. Dertne, who had called on 
Sir Edward Hamilton, but found him out of town. Sir Edward Hamilton was, 
in fact, returned to Hastings, and had despatched a confidential agent to view again 
Ihe Sheep-house estate. Sir William's enquiries about Outsell were most unsatis- 
factory, and revealed him as a highly irresponsible tenant ; " I am become sb 
accustomed," he says, "to these kind of disappointments that I ahi callous and 
seared to them. Perhaps after all it is best as it is ; for I should have been obliged 
to have laid out nearly two years rent in repairs, which, although it would have 
been money well spent, yet it would have been a great drawback on my income for 
the ensuing year, which I can ill afford." Lady Ashburnham's little agricultural 
speculation over some runts had not met with the success anticipated. He goes on 
lo say : 

" . . . I received a note on Monday from my brother George informing 
me that his wiffe was safely delivered, on Sunday night at eleven o'clock, of a fine 
boy. The mother and infant are both doing well. I was glad to hear this good 
account, though I cannot but regret that George has so large a family. 

Tv/o melancholy occurrences have taken place on this coast, in consequence 
of the heavy squall of wind which set in so furiously against this squall on Saturday 
last. A schooner from Dartmouth foundered between Rye and Dungeness, and 
all on board perished, except one man who climbed up the mast, and remained there 
until a boat could put off to his rescue. A smuggling boat, on its passage from 
France to Hastings, was what the seamen call capsized, or turned over, and all the 
crew, including the master, were lost. The master was a smuggler, and did reside 
at HoUington corner. He has left a widow and six children. 

A shocking event took place on Monday at Pett. A boy of about fourteen 
years of age hung himself in his master's oast-house. The female part of the family 
were engaged in washing, in which the boy had been assisting by bringing water ; 
the boy having been missed for some time they went in search of him, and found him 
suspended from a beam in the oast-house, and quite dead. The cause of this rash and 
deplorable act cannot be conjectured. . . ." 

Lady Ashburnham returned a day or two later ; and from this point until the 
end of our period the letters become very much less frequent, sometimes only one or 
two to one year, and sometimes none at all. The next in point of date is from Denny 
Ashburnham, who was about to remove from Ditchling to Catsfield. 

" Ditchling Vicarage, July 19th, 1833. 
Dear Brother, 

I am quite uneasy at the thought of my inattention to your kind request of 
hearing from us on our arrival in Town, & I can conjure up but one shadow of excuse 
for not having so done — that is, poor George, whom I repeatedly saw, continues still so 
obstinately bent upon pursuing his own imprudent plans, that I had nothing to impart 
on that head which was likely to serve him, or afford you ye smallest satisfaction. 
My attempts to assist him I fear were exerted to no purpose & our meetings were 
generally of that unsatisfactory nature as very much to chill the spirit for social 
correspondence & certainly diminished the pleasure I shd otherwise have experienced 
while in Town. I had however several treats, both musical & pictorial,, ... I 
must inform you that we leave Ditchling next Tuesday for Catsfield. I have so 
arranged with Mr. Ash as to reduce the expence of moving considerably ; the van 
which takes myself family and servants to Catsfield brings Mr. Ash's family to Ditch- 
ling & we have adopted the same plan in regard to the waggon which takes our 


luggage. We expect to arrive about 6 o'clock p.m. on Tuesday but Mr, Ash will 
not leave Catsfield before Thursday, and we shall have so much to do and arrange 
that I fear I shall not be able to get over to Broomham till after the nth of August. 
I have much more to say upon the arts when we meet ; ye British gallery now displays 
a noble collection of pictures. There are three rooms, one contains those of Sir 
Joshua, another those of Sir Thos. Lawrence & a third those of West's. Here you have 
a good opportunity of comparing ye respective merits of each artist, & in my opinion 
the former stands pre-eminently foremost. Many of his pictures reminded me of 
days of yore, when painting was ye rage ; when we all were artists & when nothing 
delighted me more than to accompany my father yourself & my Brother John to ye 
Royal Academy. 

Give our kindest remembrances to Mrs. A. & my brother John, & say I hope we 
shall soon see much more of them than we have hitherto done. We regret greatly 
leaving our kind neighbours, but shall be delighted to see our Relatives in the East of 
Sussex. I beg that Lady Ashburnham & yourself will accept everything that is kind 
from us, & I am your affectionate brother, D.A." 

In 1833 the Ashburnhams paid another long visit to Seal ; Sir William returned 
to Broomham for some days to superintend, and then went back again, as in former 
years. Upon one of these occasions he writes in the following terms, after giving 
a variety of news concerning the farm and kindred subjects. 

' ' Broomham, October 6th, 1833. 
. , . As I know you like to see things kept in repair, and in nice and proper 
order, I have directed the park gates to be repaired, and new-painted of a dark green 
colour : so you see I get on by degrees. . . . 

After I had despatched my letter to you by the post on Thursday, I walked 
over to Coghurst and found Mr, and Mrs. Musgrave Brisco at home, together with 
Mrs. Camac. The latter, though labouring under a bad cold, seemed in her usual 
high spirits and good humour. Mrs. Camac represented the Hastings races to have 
been very well attended ; and that not only the race-days, but that a great part of the 
succeeding week exhibited a continual round of gaieties. There was a Ball at the 
Swan ; a Ball at St. Leonards ; Mrs.Camac's grand Ball ; and a Ball given by Mrs, 
Burton ; together with a regatta, and a play at the theatre patronized by the Stewards 
of the races. The Ball at the Swan did not conclude till past four o'clock in the 
morning. This is much too late, it is making a toil of a pleasure. Mrs. Camac told 
me that she had made a delightful tour during the summer months to Cheltenham, 
Buxton, and Harrogate, with which she appeared to have been much pleased. The 
only noblemen whom I have heard of as being at Hastings are Lord Louth and 
Lord Elphinstone. . . ." 

It would appear that the following December saw the sale of the Winchelsea 
estate finaUy arranged. Miss Humphry writes, on December 5th, 1833. 

' ' I heartily congratulate Sir William and yourself on the prospect of a termina- 
tion to your protracted and harassing anxieties, and trust the minor consideration 
of the time of taking possession will be satisfactorily adjusted. The sum obtained 
I hope realizes Sir William's expectation, and earnestly do I hope the sale of this 
property may relieve him from pecuniary embarassment. I shall be most anxious 
to hear the purchase is compleated ;" and again, a few days later, 

' ' I rejoice to learn the sale of the Winchelsea property is finally arranged." 

This sale should have relieved, or contributed to relieve. Sir William from his 
liabilities, of which, as has been said, we do not know the nature, unless they were in 
some way connected with the Rye harbour. In 1834 they repeated their visit to 
Seal, from which they returned at the end of June. 


* * Broomham, July ist, 1834. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . Hastings and St. Leonards have been deserted by visitors, but it is 
hoped they may fill towards the middle of the month. This part of the country is 
suffering greatly from the long continuance of dry weather, much less rain having 
fallen here than in Kent. The hay crops are so short that they will scarcely repay the 
expence of cutting, and Sir Wilham is obliged to give up the idea of mowing more 
than half the meadow land which he had laid for this purpose. . . . We have 
had visits from several of our Neighbours since our return. Last week Mr. and Mrs, 
Stonestreet & Mr. & Mrs.Wynch call'd; the Family at Pett have been great sufferers 
from the prevailing Influenza. Mr. H. Wynch was looking very ill and had been 
unable to perform his clerical duties for a month ; he had the Disorder in so violent a 
manner that he was obliged to have his Head shaved several times, & I was sorry to 
hear that the elder Mrs. Wynch was very unwell with a relapse of the complaint. ,;^ 

Mr. Wallenger's intended Marriage is entirely unknown here, and not much 
credit is attached to the report. He has resigned the living of St. Mary's and Lord 
Chichester has appointed a Mr. Marychurch to succeed to the Preferment. Mr. 
Wallenger's departure is much lamented at Hastings. It is stated he is going abroad 
for the Recovery of his Health. The House he has lately buUt on Castledown is 
advertized for sale. We had a transient interview with Mrs. James West and her 
Daughters on Wednesday, & were happy to observe Mrs. James West looking much 
stronger. Mrs. James John West [this was J. J. West's second wife, a Miss Blair], 
and her infant are going on well. Mrs. Blair and her sisters are still at Winchelsea, 
but return to town in a few days. Mr. & Mrs. North have been in great affliction 
for the safety of their only surviving son, who had the Scarlet Fever some time ago, 
& the medical men were very apprehensive consumption would follow ; they are now 
gone to Cheltenham to visit her Mother & in the hope that change of air may be of 
benefit to their son. Our friends at the Parsonage are all well. John is at home for 
his summer vacation, much grown and looking very wefl. Our geraniums in the 
Hall we found in great beauty, although they wiU not bear comparison with yours. . ." 

The drought became more serious still ; to quote the words of Sir William, 
' ' my farm and my garden are almost burnt up. There is a serious scarcity of water 
for the cattle. The ditches in the marshes are almost all dry ; and the stock of all 
descriptions, belonging to various different owners, run all together. The effects of 
this continued drought I fear will be very calamitous." With this letter were sent 
some verses and two sonnets, of which the following will serve as a specimen. The 
other was supposed to be written on the plains of Waterloo. 


On the Hero of Waterloo being insulted in the streets of London. 
How fickle is the favour of the crowd 

Oh ! shame to Britain ! — more disgraceful far 

Than all reverses of uncertain war, 
That thy base rabble should with insult loud 
Dare to assail thy Hero's laurel'd head. 

Victor renowned ! for whom the hand of Fame 

Gathered at Waterloo a deathless name, 
And round his brow her freshest Laurels spread. 
Champion of England's throne ! was this thy lot ? 

Are noble feelings changed to ravings vile ? 

Has generous Gratitude forsook our Isle ? 
Can Wellington and Glory be forgot ? 
Shall he, who (doubtless) Gallia's fury braved, 
Be hooted in the land his matchless valour saved ? 


Though nothing could divert the Duke from his purpose, these insults were 
nevertheless keenly felt. When the windows of Apsley House ovierlookihg tHe 
Park were broken by the mob, he put Up iron shutters which were never once removed 
till his death. With these verses was sent a " floreal letter " to Miss Huniphrj^; 
deploring the effect of the drought on his garden : speaking of his brother's familyi 
hie says : 

'' My birother JDenny, Mrs. Denny Ashburnham, and his two daughters spent 
i '^ieek with us lately, and during their stay furnished us with a rich musical treat. 
Denny fancied that he had, in some measure, lost his voice, but from experiment I am 
Warranted in asserting that his voice is as sweet, as melodious, and as powerful as 
6ver. in taste, feeling and expression he never, I think, appeared to greater advan- 
tage. Mrs. Denny Ashburnham possesses a fine voice ; her lower and middle tones 
are remarkably good, but some of her upper notes are rathef harsh : she is sensible of 
this defect, and is much improved in modulating her voice so as to correct this 
irrijperfection. After a time I arh convinced she will sing admirably, and I think 
#e shall soon meet with few Ladies, amongst our acquaintance, who will surpass 
hier in this delightful science. Denny's daughter Mary is grown quite a tall girl. 
She exhibits sOrhe prospect of singing ; but at her early age it is impossible to frtrni 
ahy judgment. They speak very highly of their kind neighbours General and Mrs. 
Pilkington, whose daughters are most agreeable companions to my young neices," 

The time had nearly arrived for the settlement of the Winchelsea estate sale, 
of which Mr. Herbert Curteis was the purchaser. A strict system of economy was 
established and maintained at Broomham, until the pecuniary troubles were over. 
Entertaining was severely restricted, and prudent measures of a like nature were 
adopted. It is not plain what was the " heavy loss " referred to in the following 
letter ; possibly it was the bad price realized by the sale of land. 

' ' Broomham, Septbr ist, 1834: 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . Sir William had a Lettier from Mr. H. Palmer on Saturday, when he 
learnt for the first time officially that Mr. Herbert Curteis is the actual purchaser of 
the Sheep house estate. Several exceptions have been taken to the title, some of 
which have been got over, and we trust no serious obstacle presents itself to prevent 
it being paid for at the specified time, which is now fast approaching. Mr. Palmer 
is now at Brighton. I shall be truly thankful when Sir William is able to get an 
arrangement of his affairs, but know by experience that all matters where law is 
concerned proceed very slowly. We think it favourable Mr. H. Curteis having avowed 
himself to be the purchaser, which we suppose he avoided doing till he was satisfied 
as to the title. Sir William presided at the Dinner for the Society of promoting 
Christian Knowledge on Friday last, and was gratified by the manner in which he 
was supported. I had a kind note from Mrs. Mackenzie who is staying at Iden and 
intends favouring us with a morning visit the end of next month. Julius Nouaille 
was here one day last week. I was glad to hear from him a good account of his 
friends in Kent. . . ." 

The next letter, from Lady Ashburnham, dated 5th November, 1834, contains 
a description of the Duchess of Kent's visit to St. Leonards : — 

^ " The Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria arrived at St. Leonards 
yesterday ; last week it was intimated to Sir Willm that the Corporation of Hastings 
attended by the whole neighbourhood intended meeting their Royal Highnesses, 
and escorting them through Hastings to St. Leonards, Flies not being deemed 
admissahle, Mr. & Mrs. Ashburnham offered us seats in their carriage, and we accom- 
panied them to join the procession. The Town of Hastings made every effort to 
demonstrate their Loyalty on the occasion. A triumphal arch formed of evergreens 
&c was erected at the Hare & Hounds, where the jurisdiction of the corporation 
commences, & the place fixed on for the reception of the Royal Party. They came 

l^om Tunbridge Wells, lunched at Biattle Abbey, & their arrival about three p'clo,ck 
was announced by the firing of canon, ringing of Bells, 8^ the huzzaing of an immense 
cpncourse of persons. The Rpyal carriages were attended from Battle by a large 
party of Sussex gentlernep and yeomen, all well mounted, and received on their 
arrival by the Corporation and resident Gentlemen of Hastings on Horseback ; the 
carriages afterwards fell into the Procession and the Pedestrians followed. The 
Town of Hastings was richly decorated with evergreens, interspersed with every 
description of flowers that the season could supply, & Flags & Banners with appro- 
priate inscriptions were waving in all directions, indeed I think the Royal Party 
could not fail of being gratified by the high degree of Loyalty and good feeling 
evinced on the occasion. I wish my dear Fanny you could have been present, I 
assure you it was a most gratifying spectacle ; I could hardly have supposed thi^ 
part of Sussex could have produced such an immense concourse of persons. Before 
I quit the subject I must not omit to mention, that we had a most gracious curtsy 
from the Duchess of Kent & the young Princess as thp carriage slowly passed the 
window where they had alighted at St. Leonards. I am told a most beautiful display 
of fireworks & a splendid illumination took place at St. Leonards last night, indeed all 
orders appeared most anxious to testify their loyalty & attachment to the Throne. 

Mrs. North has lately lost her mother, her eldest brother Sir William Marjorir 
banks died a short time previously. An extraordinary mortality has taken place in 
her Family, six members of which have departed this life within the last year. . . " 
On 14th February, 1835, Mrs. Humphry died at the advanced age of 84 years, 
^ary Anne Humphry's health necessitated her living in London, under more adequate 
medical control than could be exercised over her by her family, anc^ Miss Humphry 
was left alone at Seal. Under the circumstances, it was decided that she should take 
up her abode at Broomham, whither she removed with a good deal of her furniture, 
and, what was more precious to her, her plants. From that time until her death, 
Broomham was her home, and the house at Seal was let. 

Lady Ashburnham writes in May to her sister, and the letter is addressed to her 
at Mrs. Bepham's, 9, Alexander Square, Brompton. 

' ' Broomham, May 14th, 1835. 
My dear Maryanne, 

Not having had the satisfaction of hearing from you since Fanny's arrival here, 
I purpose addressing a Letter to you hoping it may find you improving in health and 
more comfortable in your present abode. I earnestly hope as the season advances, 
aijid you become more settled in your habits, that you will find yourself much better, 
and more equal to meet the little difficulties we must all have to encounter in this 
world. You are aware that this is a most trying period of the year for Invalids, and 
you must look forward with hope that after a time your health will be altogether 
renoyated, & that you will again enjoy with a thankful mind the blessings of life. 
We thought Fanny looking poorly on her first arrival, which was to be expected after 
^11 the harass & fatigue she has had to endure ; we have little variety for her at present, 
^ut she amuses herself with tending her plants which are arranged in different parts 
pf tlie House ; they have been considerably checked by removal from the green-house 
tp a colder climate at so early a period of the year. After her walk with you in 
Kensington gardens, she was astonished to find vegetation here so backward. 

. . John West came from Tnnbridge and spent the day with us yesterday ; he 
returned early this Morning as he is to join his Regin^ent in a few days. He gives a 
good account of all his Family with the exception of his sister Fanny who has been 
a great Invalid during the Spring. Alicia accompanied Mr. & Mrs. Camac, who were 
staying at the Postern at Easter, to a Ball at Maidstone with which she was highly 
Relighted, having the gratification to dance with several military Beaus. John West 
IS fciecome much more conversible from having had the advantage of a more extended 
intercourse with society. Mr. & Mrs. James John West are still absent from Win- 


Chelsea & their poor Httle Boy continues very unwell. The death of Mr. Yates of 
Fairlawn took place about three weeks since. His Loss is deeply regretted ; the 
Parish of Shipbourne have put themselves in mourning and the gentry of the neigh- 
bourhood attended the Funeral. We are told that Miss Yates and Mr. & Mrs. Park 
are to be resident at Fairlawn. 

We hear Hastings and St. Leonards are deserted by company ; both Places have 
been full during the Winter. The buildings at St. Leonards are re-commencing on a 
large scale. I think I informed you of the death of our old neighbour Mrs. Francis 
MiUward, and that she had left the bulk of her property to Mrs. Millward for her life. 
The first Horticultural meeting for the season took place at Battle last Friday ; it was 
but thinly attended, most of the resident gentry being at this season in London. 
The Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria are become the Patroness & the Vice- 
Patroness of the Society. . . ." 

There is a postscript added by Miss Humphry : — 

" My dear Maryanne, I had the satisfaction of finding Sir William and Julia 
quite well on my arrival here, and was fortunate in having pleasant companions in the 
coach, which beguiled the distance from London. . . I have called on the Miss 
Kays at their pretty cottage with Sir William and Julia, and have seen Mr. and Mrs. 
Ashburnham and their beautiful group of children several times. Sir William 
has kindly assigned me a piece of ground for Flowers, and I renew my favourite 
amusement with pleasure. I do not make more particular enquiries respecting 
St. Leonards till we hear from you ; Julia thinks you would not Hke it under present 
circumstances, destitute of company, and constant noise from the buildings going 
forward. . . ." 

In August Mr. and Mrs. Denny Ashburnham passed some time at Broomham. 
He was by that time well settled at Catsfield, and had been taking duty at Hove, 
where he became acquainted with the curate there, Mr. Snowden, an old Tonbridge 
School Bo}^ Mr. and Mrs. John Ashburnham and their two daughters, Fanny and 
Honor, had been staying at Catsfield during the summer, ' ' one of the old fashioned 
cricket-playing summers, returned after long absence, bringing to mind Thomson's 
beautiful poem on this lovely season," as Denny Ashburnham describes it. 

In December, 1835, Sir William and Lady Ashburnham visited their Kentish 
friends. Lady Ashburnham, describing the event to her sister, says : 

' ' We had the satisfaction of finding our friends at the Castle well on our arrival, 
& I have had the pleasure of seeing several of our old Tunbridge friends. To-day 
we have been to Pembury, & found Mrs. S. Woodgate at home, in excellent spirits 
and looking better than I have seen her for some time. She made many kind enquiries 
after you, & hoped you would pass a little time with her previous to your return into 
Sussex. We afterwards called on Lady Hardinge, & were gratified by having an 
opportunity of seeing Bounds, which is an excellent House, fitted up in a very hand- 
some manner. We are to attend a little dance at Mr. F. Woodgate's to-morrow 
Evening, & it is our intention to return to Broomham on Friday. I am happy to 
hear of Miss M. Crichton's intended marriage. Pray give our kindest regards to Mr. 
& Mrs. Nouaille, Peter & Anne." 

In February, 1836, Sir William found it necessary to consult Mr. Palmer upon 
some very complicated accounts ; it would seem that they related to the affairs of 
Cheyney's Icklesham Charity, which had been allowed to stand over for very many 
years, with results that may easily be imagined. The difiiculty arose, in part, over 
a feofifment. It was suggested by Mr. Palmer that the parish of Icklesham should give 
a piece of land in lieu of the land in question ; and that if they had none, that Sir 
William should sell them a portion of the Smuggler's field {giving he declared to be 
quite out of the question). 


Sir William writes from Mr. Palmer's house : — 

* ' Upper Wooburn Place. (Feb. 5th) 

Tuesday nine o'clock in the afternoon. 
My dear Julia, 

After a most disagreeable journey, through snow sleet and rain, I arrived between 
seven and eight o'clock yesterday afternoon in Wooburn Place where I received a 
most kind and cordial welcome from our friends the Palmers. . . . Notwith- 
standing his indisposition, Mr. Palmer very willingly entered into the business 
which brought me to town, and we have been employed this morning in endeavouring 
to arrange the charity concerns, but we have not yet completed our task. Even 
Mr. Palmer found it very difficult to make a satisfactory arrangement, from the 
complexity of the details. Mr. Palmer thought the manner in which I had drawn up 
my paper of accounts was objectionable, though the mode which he has adopted is 
not materially different from mine in the general result. I have the pleasure to state 
that Mr. Palmer tells me that the fifty pounds bequeathed by the late Mr. Bradshaw 
now stands in the three per cent consols, and has never been drawn out, as I was 
apprehensive, through mistake, it might have been. This discovery will be a saving 
to me of fifty pounds which I was afraid I should have had to have paid in addition 
to the arrears of rent. It is a great consolation, likewise, to me to reflect that it is 
now proved that my father had not acted irregularly or incorrectly in this business. 
As it is scarcely possible that our accounts can be so matured and methodized as to b6 
in a state to be laid before Mr. Hume before Saturday or Monday next, I write to say 
that you must not expect me at Broomham till Tuesday next. Whenever I do 
come I shall probably travel by the Regulator or blue Hastings coach which leaves 
the Bolt in tun in Fleet Street at ten o'clock in the morning, and reaches Hastings 
about seven o'clock in the evening. 

I called in Southampton Row on your sister Mary Ann this morning, and found 
Capt. and Mrs. Thomas with her who were very civil and polite. Mary Ann said she 
was well, and I hope she is so ; but I thought she looked pale and dejected. As 
Capt. and Mrs. Thomas were present she did not say a word about her present residence 
which I think she would have done had she liked it. She said she should write 
to you in a day or two. She seemed much pleased with my present of the Keepsake. 
I called this morning upon Mr. Robert Hare at Coutt's Banking house, and paid 
him the money for the wine ; and he gave me the receipt for it. I enquired after 
Mrs. Robert Hare and the young people, and I was glad to find that they were all well. 
I gave Mr. Hare the letter for his wife with which I was entrusted. He was much 
concerned to hear of your sister Fanny's illness. [Mrs. Hare was the widow of William 
Ozias Humphry, Lady Ashburnham's brother]. 

Probably you have learnt from my brother John that I was not able to get an 
inside place in either of the early coaches ; I was therefore obliged to wait for the ten 
o'clock coach which made me late in town. When at Hastings, having a quarter of 
an hour to spare, I called upon Mr. and Mrs. Brisco who were at breakfast ; I was 
glad to find Mrs. West very composed and looking very well. Mrs. Brisco told me she 
was in hopes that she had quite got rid of her lameness. . . ." 

On the back of this letter is written in pencil, in Lady Ashburnham's writing, 
The last received from Sir Wm. Ashburnham by his wife, never leaving home again 
unaccompanied by her. He departed this Life March 21st, 1843." 

In the exhibition at Somerset House in May, 1836, appeared a painting (No. 
180) "Broomham Park, J. Thorp. Beneath their shade the bleating flocks repose." 
Denny Ashburnham says, ' ' This picture escaped my notice, however I shall have an 
opportunity of seeing it to-morrow. To render this picture most interesting, the 
Baronet should be introduced in the attitude of exclaiming in fine poetical phrenzy, 
' ye woods & wilds whose melancholy shade ' &c." 


In the following November, the Rev. Thomas Harvey, Vicar of Cowden, applied 
to Sir William for assistance in increasing the accommodation in Cowden church. It 
must bp rei^emhered that Lady Asl^^^urnham and her sisters owned the Moat, Cowden, 
and that the Ashburnhams were interested in the parish, as being among t^e principal 
landowners. Sir William regrets his inability tp assist ; in tW course o^ the letter 
he says : 

■ ' In the church at Guestling, (the parish in which I reside) I have a side chancel 
which is my private property, but in which there are no seats. As there is a great 
want of accomodation for the parishioners of Guestling, I have for years had it in 
contemplation to erect pews or benches in my chancel, and then to give up the pews 
now occupied bfy my family and dependents to others." 

In P^ceniber, Lady Ashburnham writes to ]\Iary Anne Humphry, at 4, Ken- 
sington Crescent : — 

" . . . I am happy to tell you that poor little Honor Ashburnhar^ is better, 
altho' she is still confined to her Bed, and it is feared she will be a great Invalid for 
some time, but it is hoped she will ultimately recover. Mr. Ashburnham went to 
Town on Saturday to bring Anchitel from School for his Xmas Holidays. Our 
neighbour Mr. Kay is just returned from a continental tour ; he has visited Paris and 
the Netherlands, and was prevented prosecuting his journey into Greece from 
apprehensions of the cholera, having arranged a plan for travelling in the suite of 
King Otho on the occasion of his Marriage. Mr. Prout the celebrated artist h^s 
taken a House at Hastings (one of those in the Paragon Buildings) and intends 
making it his permanent abode. He is said to be much put of health and hope^ 
the mild climate of the place will be useful to him. We understand Mr. Pahner is to 
be Sheriff for the County of Sussex the ensuing year : his son Mr. George Palmer [who 
seems to have been curate under Mr. Wynch] is to act as Chaplain on the occasion. 
Mrs. West is intending to pay Mrs.Nouaille a visit early in January previous to taking 
a Residence at Hastings. I was happy to hear from Fanny [who had just returned 
from a visit to Mary Anne Humphry] a good account of Mrs. Hare, Juha and her 
brothers, and should be glad to find that Richard had a permanent engagement. We 
are happy to hear that James West's health is improved since his Residence at 
Southborough. We have completed the purchase of the Poney Phaeton and think 
it will prove an accomodation here, but do not intend to use it till the return of 
Spring. ..." 

It is evident that, since Denny Ashburnham's removal to Catsfield, the brothers 
obtained much more of each other's society, and several letters of invitation are 
extant. Denny Ashburnham's letters are noticeable for the frequent quotations they 
contain, chiefly poetical, but sometimes extracts from prose writers. In the spring of 
1837, he writes from Catsfield Rectory : — 

' ' We called on Mrs. J. Dugdell on the 7th [April] & were rejoiced to find that her 
little Daughter Caroline had received so much |),enefit from the sea air. We expect 
to see them some morning should the weather permit. J. Dugdell has ^vritten nie 
a long and interesting Letter on the subject of his futiu"e intended movements relative 
to the health of his daughter. His present plan is to leave England early in the 
ensuing Autumn, visit the South of France, Italy, Switzerland, and the Rhyne. You, 
I know, are not of a wandering disposition. I am, in a restricted sense of the word. 
Though perfectly contented, though more than happy in my present beautiful retreat, 
yet still I should be well pleased tp take a wider view of this delightful world, from 
which the eye of Reaspn and of Christian faith looks upwards to thf; promised land. 

. . . Only think of little Fanny's sudden flight to school ! I most sincerely hope 
it will be attended with every wished-for good anticipated by Mrs. Ashburnham and 
my brother Rector. , . ." 


Writing next year, he describes the arrangements made for the commutation of 
Tithe at DitchHng : 

' ' The Land owners have enter'd into a resolution to give me a rent charge of 
^210 pr ann: that is, they have agreed to raise the tithes £i8 7/- & to allow £39 13/- 
as the average sum for poor rates. I hope my brother John will consider this arrange- 
ment satisfactory. I am glad to hear my brother John has settled the question 
of tithes with his Parishioners at Pevensey to his satisfaction ; and knowing that he 
is now in Town, perhaps you will favour me by informing him on his return how I 
have managed with the Land owners at Ditchling. Owing to the death of Mr. 
Billingham the Catsfield tithes business is postponed." 

He goes on to state that Mr. Wharton, his curate at Ditchling (for it must be 
remembered that he held both livings), owing to ill health had resigned, which he and 
the parishioners esteemed a very great loss. He requests to know if his brothers have 
in view any one to whom they would wish the appointment to be offered. This is the 
last letter of Denny Ashbumham's that remains. 

Miss Humphry in February, 1837, describes the Nouailles' visit to Mrs. West at 
Hastings, and goes on to say : — 

' ' Mr. and Mrs. Denny Ashburnham spent a morning here the early part of last 
week, and are to make their long promised visit with their young people the 6th day of 
March, when Fanny Ashburnham is to pass the week here to meet her cousins. Mrs. 
D. Ashburnham brought Sir William two beautiful water-coloured paintings from her 
sister ; they are original compositions, and the designs and execution evince much 
talent in the artist. Sir William's last letter from his sister stated they were aU 
recovering from Influenza ; you will be glad to hear that John West is made a 
lieutenant, he has been very fortunate in succeeding so early to promotion. Lady 
Ashburnham received a long letter from Mrs. Hare a few days ago ; I sincerely hope 
the engagement entered into for Frederick may prove advantageous. I wish some 
employment could be found for poor Richard. ... Sir William has resumed his 
evening reading, which is very delightful to Julia and myself. Mrs. AUnutt is 
prevented coming to Hastings by the indisposition of Maria, who has been very 
poorly for some time. Mrs. Nouaille's visit is not to exceed a fortnight. She has 
promised to pass a morning here before she leaves the neighbourhood. We hear Mr. 
John Thompson is returned to England and that he is performing the Duty at 
Meopham as Curate, for which his Creditors allow him a hundred a year. . . ." 

On 15 th August she writes again : — 

' ' I should have given you a line before had we not been a good deal engaged the 
last few days. Sir William and Ly. Ashburnham request me to say with their kind 
love that it will be perfectly convenient, and they shall be most happy to see you on 
Wednesday the 23rd inst. They will send their poney carriage to the Hare and 
Hounds, Fairlight, on that day to meet you, and convey you and your servant to 
Broomham. We are going to-morrow to Catsfield to pass a fev/ days with Mr. and 
Mrs. Denny Ashburnham and return on Saturday. 

Notwithstanding the long drought there was an abundant and beautiful display 
of flowers at the Battle show; Sir William was quite triumphant, having four first rate 
amateur prizes assigned him, for the best Boquet, the best geraniums, the best Per- 
ennials, and the best Pinks. His basket-boquet was much admired and certainly was 
the prettiest thing in the room. I hide my diminished head, only coming in for one 
prize for the second best geraniums. . . . We had a delightful visit to Mrs. 
Mascal, who entertained us in a most kind and hospitable manner. She recollected 
your having made her a morning visit, and desired her kind compliments to you. 
Mrs. Corbet is shortly to be united to Sir Archer Croft, a son of the late Physician of 
that name. The Marriage is to take place at Tunbridge Wells, and Miss Corbet and 
Anne Nouaille are to be the Bridesmaids. The Nouailles hope to pass the month of 


September at Hastings, but as the period of their visit depends on previously setthng 
for the sale of their property, I fear the procrastinations of the Lawyers may defer it 
beyond the time they anticipate. Mr. and Mrs. James John West have a sweet 
lively good-humoured little boy, a pretty child, and at present perfectly healthy. . ." 

On Mary Anne Humphry's return, Lady Ashburnham writes : 

' ' Broomham, Oct. 15th, 1837. 

. . . We have heard no tidings of you since your arrival at Tunbridge ; and 
hope you found Mr. & Mrs. Francis Woodgate and their Family well, and have no 
doubt but you received and communicated much Pleasure by a renewed intercourse 
with your old Friends. I am sorry to say that Mrs. Ashburnham has been very 
unwell since you left us ; she found her Lodging at Hastings small and inconvenient, 
and returned home in consequence sooner than she intended. Bathing has proved 
so beneficial to Honor that it has again induced them to take appartments in Bruns- 
wick House, of which they took possession on Thursday last. We shall be very 
glad to hear from you, how you found Mrs. West and the young people at Tunbridge 
Castle. Miss Curteis of Sevenoaks is going to be married to Mr. Cox, a promising 
young clergyman of good Family ; he has been curate to her Father for some time, 
and has now obtained another engagement. Lord Camden and Lady Georgina 
Pratt have this autumn been making a tour in Wales. Sir William had a most 
agreeable visit to Ashburnham ; he met a Party of 12 gentlemen including Ld. Ash- 
burnham and his Brother, Sir Charles Lamb, Mr. Fuller and Mr. Danby, the two late 
Conservative Candidates for East Sussex. He slept at Ashburnham and spent the 
following day with his brother at Catsfield. . . ." 

Miss Humphry writes on 30th November, 1837. 

". . . Our Greatness friends left Hastings on Thursday last, all much 
pleased and benefited by the excursion, indeed Mr. Nouaille's health derived so much 
advantage that Mrs. West thinks it likely they may be induced to come again early in 
the spring. Mr. John Woodgate [of Stonewall] arrived the day of their departure, 
so that Mrs. West is not left alone. Since you heard from us last we have dined at 
Beauport with a very gay party, consisting of Lady Charlotte & Ly. Maria Seymour, 
daughters of the Duke of Somerset — the elder sister is one of the ladies in attendance 
on the Queen Dowager — Ly. Jane Hamilton (a relation of Ly. Montgomerie) , Ly. 
Webster, Mr. and Mrs. Wastel Brisco, Mr. Greville, Mr. Rush, & ourselves. It was a 
very handsome entertainment ; Ly. Montgomerie is very agreeable at the head of her 
table, & extremely affable and condescending to all her guests. Mrs. Ashburnham 
returned home on Thursday last. Dr. Davis, the domestic physician to the Queen 
Dowager, has seen her and concurs with Mr. Watts in his opinion of her case. They 
thought the air of Hastings too relaxing & recommended her return home. . . ." 

Lady Ashburnham writes on 15th March, 1838 : — 

" . . . I am truly concerned to inform you that poor Mrs. Ashburnham 
continues in a very precarious state ; she sometimes considers herself better but I fear 
no real improvement has taken place in her health. We visit her frequently, and 
tho' at all times she is not equal to conversation, yet she derives comfort from hearing 
us read to her ; she frequently enquires after you and is much obliged by yoiu" kind 
remembrance of her. The children are all recovered from the hooping cough, but 
I am sorry to say that Lawrence is in a very dehcate state of Health ; the medical 
men have hitherto been unable to discover the nature of his complaint. 

Mr. and Mrs. Francis Woodgate [he was in the War Office, and was a younger 
son of W. F. Woodgate of Summerhill ; his wife was daughter of Henry Woodgate 
of Spring Grove, and sister of Mrs. Musgrave Brisco] passed a few days at Coghurst 
soon after their marriage. We had the pleasure of dining there to meet them. The 
Bride was very agreeable and appeared to great advantage in a rich white silk dress 
handsomely trimmed with Blond. We were glad to have an opportunity of renewing 
our acquaintance with the Bridegroom, who appears an amiable pleasing young 

Man. They have been making a tour of visits, passing a few days with many of their 
Relatives. They intend residing in the Tower ; Mr. F. Woodgate has engaged a 
Residence for three months, and at the expiration of this term he hopes to succeed to 
an official Residence. Mrs. Brisco has been suffering from a severe cold accompanied 
with Inflammation in one of her eyes, which she attributes to attending her sister's 
wedding during the severe weather, but is now well again. Mrs. Allnutt & Mrs. 
Nouaille have each been passing a short time with Mrs. West at Hastings ; we had the 
gratification of meeting the three sisters at Coghurst. Mrs. Nouaille gave a good 
account of Mr. Nouaille, Peter, and Anne ; she lamented the shortness of her stay and 
the inclemency of the weather prevented the possibility of calling on you during her 
stay in London. . . . We hear from Mrs. Nouaille that Mrs. Palliser is this year to 
visit her Family, Fanny hopes to be fortunate enough to meet her. Capt. & Mrs. J. 
Woodgate are also to visit their respective relatives this summer. . . I heard from 
Mrs. West lately, our Friends at the Castle are cdl well. John West's Regiment 
is ordered to Halifax, and he likes his destination very much." 

The next letter, dated 13th April, announced the dissolution of Mrs. Ashburnham. 
Miss Humphrey writes : — 

" You are aware that poor Mrs. Ashburnham's health had been gradually 
dechning since the Autumn, and for some time past all hope and expectation of her 
recovery was at an end. Under these circumstances it will lessen your regret to learn 
that it pleased God to remove her to a more durable state of existence on Wednesday 
last. During her long illness she had every alleviation that human skill could 
afford,and was soothed and gratified by the unremitting attentions & consideration of 
Mr. Ashburnham to her comfort. Fanny [Ashburnham] returned home two days 
ago. Mr. Ashburnham is deeply affected but derives comfort from having his young 
people around him, who I am happy to say have all regained their health. Julia has 
of late been much occupied in attentions to our deceased relative, and since the event 
in giving necessary orders. 

. . . Mr. and Mrs. Brisco went to Town on Tuesday last ; they intend 
coming down for a week or ten days after the middle of May to see their garden and 
inhale a little country air. Mrs. West leaves Hastings on the 21st inst. and stays 
with her friends in Kent till the return of Mr. & Mrs. Brisco to London when she is to 
accompany them and pass the month of June in the Metropolis. Miss M. A. Moly- 
neux is staying at Winchelsea ; Mr. James [John] West brought her to call here on 
Monday last, we were all much struck by her resemblance to her sister the late Mrs. 
West, and I do not know when I have seen so handsome and agreeable a young 
woman. You will be glad to hear Sir William has lately been exercising his 
poetic talent by adding considerably to the number of his Sonnetts, many of which 
are happy effusions of his muse. About six weeks since Mrs. Mackenzie surprised 
all her friends by giving birth to another son. Miss Lamb's marriage is expected 
shortly to take place, and Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie and all their young people are to 
be present at the wedding. Mrs. Milward called here last week to invite us to be 
present at the laying of the first stone of a new Church to be erected on the Barracks 
ground near Hastings ; the mournful event at the Parsonage of course prevents our 
witnessing this interesting ceremony. Mrs. Milward accompanied by her sister Mrs. 
Holmes & her family & young Mr. Milward are intending to make an extended tour on 
the Continent during the ensuing autumn & winter. I am sorry to hear you have 
sustained so many losses in your garden. . . ." 

The confined space at our disposal renders it impossible to transcribe the kind and 
sociable letters in full, which is the only way of expressing the generous sympathy and 
good feeUng that runs throughout. Almost as many little gifts and packages passed 
between the three sisters as letters ; visits were frequently exchanged ; and nothing 
was wanting to complete the harmonious circle. Every letter refers to the garden, 
the favourite subject of correspondence ; and their zeal in this direction was equalled 


by their knowledge. From the next letter, dated 24th July, 1838, we learn that 
Miss Humphry took no fewer than five prizes at the Horticultural Show (namely, 
for the best green-house plants, calceolarias, pinks, perennials, and the second best 
geraniums) ; and Sir William was nearly as successful in his exhibits. Miss Humphry 
adds : — 

' ' Mr. & Mrs. Brisco came to Coghurst last week, and attended the wedding of 
their friend Miss Elliot with Mr. James, which took place at Ore Church. Mr. James 
succeeds Mr. Wharton to Mr. Denny Ashburnham's curacy of Ditchhng, and thither 
the Bride & Bridegroom repaired after their marriage. If the weather is fine we are 
to drink tea at Coghurst to-morrow evening. I believe Mrs. West is with Mrs. 
Nouaille, probably you have either seen or heard from her yourself. 

Mr. and Mrs. Denny Ashburnham and their young people passed the week 
before last at Broomham, they all desired their kind love to you, and begged me 
to say the distance prevented their young people visiting you before they left London. 
Ly. A. invited Fanny and Honor Ashburnham to join the party, and the youthful 
cousins enjoyed each others society exceedingly. A Museum for natural history is 
about to be established at Hastings, and a room for this purpose is erecting in George 
Street on a portion of the site of the old workhouse. Mr. North has presented his 
collection of stuffed animals and beautiful Indian birds to the Institution. You may 
perhaps recollect om: passing a few days with Mr. and Mrs. Micklethwait at Coghurst 
last Christmas. Mr. Micklethwait 's name appears in the new hst of Baronets. We 
hear he is promoted to this distinction for personal service rendered to her Majesty 
when she was staying at St. Leonards. She was driving in a carriage with the 
Duchess of Kent when one of the horses became restive ; Mr. Micklethwait who was 
near came forward, and gallantly arrested the animals at his own personal risk, and 
thus rescued the royal inmates from further alarm. 

We dined yesterday with Mr. and Mrs. Vernon at Westfield where we met Dr. 
and Mrs. Birch, and spent a very pleasant day. Mr. George Palmer is returned to 
his old lodgings at Hastings ; he was succeeded at Pett by Mr. and Mrs. Henry 
Wynch last week. We hear Mrs. George Wynch bore the journey better than was 
anticipated from her declining health and advanced period of life. Hastings is likely 
to be deserted by many of the resident gentry during the summer. Mr. & Mrs, 
Brisco are intending to visit their Property in Yorkshire, and to proceed from thence 
to Edinburgh before their return. Mrs. Milward is absent and intends passing the 
ensuing winter at Rome. Mr. and Mrs. Stonestreet and their family are about to 
depart on a continental tour, and Mr. and Mrs. North are going into Suffolk, and 
afterwards intend visiting Miss Shuttleworth's Castle and Property in Lancashire, 
on the occasion of her coming of age. 

Mrs. Stileman and her daughters are to have a bazaar for the sale of useful and 
fancy articles on the 2nd of August ; it is to be held in the Ruin of the Friars, and the 
Profits arising from the sale to be appropriated to a clothing fund for the poor of 
Winchelsea. I believe little remains to communicate respecting my visit to Seal. 
. . . Our old servant John is married to one of his fellow servants ; he continues 
with Mrs. McCloud, and is as much in favor with his mistress as ever. I spent two 
days most agreably at the Grove, and Miss Jessy was very friendly in offering me any 
assistance in her power. Sir Alexander was in Ireland, and not expected to return 
immediately. William West walked up to visit me, and passed a long afternoon at 
Mr. Nouaille's, and Mrs.West and her daughters met me at the Crown, Tunbridge, on 
my return to Broomham. . . ." 

Miss Elliot was the only daughter of Col. Elliot, of Valebrook, Hastings ; and her 
husband was a great friend of Henry Arthur Woodgate, at that time Curate in charge 
of Holy Trinity Church, Tunbridge Wells. At that period it would seem that 
desirable curacies were exceedingly difficult to obtain ; before obtaining Ditchling, 
Mr. James had for many months been fruitlessly engaged in seeking one, amongst 

■ 147 

the offers being one from Mr. Woodgate, whom he held in the greatest respect. He 
describes him as ' ' something of an oracle " at home, that is, with the James family ; 
and a great power at Coghurst ; and declares ' ' the good word of such a man as 
Woodgate" to be most effectual. It is probable that he obtained Ditchling through 
Mrs. Brisco. 

Mrs. MacLeod was formerly Miss Jane Petley (the aunt of C. C. Petley, of River- 
head, who married Ellen Woodgate), and widow of Kenneth Mackenzie, of Tarbet 
House, heir to the forfeited Earldom of Cromarty. She died at Riverhead in 1844, 
aged 86. 

About a month later Lady Ashburnham writes : — 

' ' Broomham, August 29th, 1838. 

. . . Fanny has lately received two letters from Mrs.Nouaille ; in the first 
she announced the death of our old and valued friend Mr. Whitehead. He had 
long survived all enjoyment of Life, therefore his release must be considered a happy 
translation for himself. The Livings of Kempsing and Seal have been conferred 
on Mr. Harwood, a friend of the late Lord Plymouth's, in consequence of a promise 
of long standing from his Lordship. We hear Mr. Whitehead had accumulated 
a large Fortune, it is said sixty thousand pounds, and that the stamp on the Probate 
of the Will amounts to nine hundred pounds. This large sum he has divided between 
his Nephews and Nieces. . . . 

We have lately been passing a few days agreably at Beauport ; a large Party 
were staying in the House, consisting of the Countess of Mexborough and her Daughter 
Lady Sarah Savile, two Lady Jane Hamiltons, one a half sister of Lady Montgomerie's, 
the other Daughter to the late Lord Duncan. Sir Charles Lamb and Lady Montgomerie 
live in a very handsome style, and are very kind and hospitable to all their country 
neighbours. Mrs. Mascall has lately passed two da3/s with us ; she is a most estimable 
person and dehghtful companion. Notwithstanding the many sorrows she has ex- 
perienced, she is very cheerful, derives much pleasure from social Intercourse, and is 
passing a tranquil happy old age, which is cheered and enlivened by frequent Inter- 
course with her only surviving Daughter and grandchildren. Lord Ashburnham's next 
Brother Coll. Ashburnham was married last week to Miss By, a young Lady of large 
Fortune residing in the Neighbourhood of Tunbridge Wells, We have been deprived 
of our Carriage Horse by an accident for the last month, which is unfortunate for Sir 
William as he now finds walking in hot weather attended with a good deal of fatigue. 
However I hope in the course of a week or two we shall be restored to our locomotive 
powers. Mr. Schofield, Professor of Greek at Cambridge, is supplying for Mr. James 
West during his absence at Tunbridge, and is residing in his house at Winchelsea. 
Mr. Schofield is a man of high character and attainment, and is considered the best 
preacher in the university of Cambridge. 

Did you see by the paper last week the marriage of Mrs. Morrison, ' ' formerly 
a Miss Carnel," to the Earl of Carnwath ? This gentleman is a Scotch Peer seventy 
years of age with a numerous Family, and she is become his third wife. What an 
extraordinary elevation some of the members of this Family have attained ! During 
our stay at Beauport I attended an Archery meeting at St. Leonards with Lady 
Montgomerie and her Party ; I had the Pleasure of meeting Dr. Knox & all his 
Family. They have been at Hastings for some time & have paid us a visit." 

In October, Frederick Humphry, who was to establish himself at Rotherfield, 
paid a short visit to his aunt at Broomham ; his time was passed in exploring the 
home domain and visiting Hastings, where they met Mr. Nouailie. He impressed 
his relatives with his strong resemblance to his father. On 5th November, Lady 
Ashburnham writes : — 

" . . . We have been to Hastings several times lately to visit our relatives 
in York Buildings ; dear Mrs. Nouailie is looking quite as well as last year. Mr. 
NouatUe is under the medical care of Mr. Duke, & considers himself benefited by his 


advice, altho' I fear no great permanent improvement can be expected from his 
present state. Anne [Nouaille] passed a few days with us last week ; she is very- 
cheerful and agreable, and told us how much pleasure your late visit to Seal had 
afforded your old friends and Neighbours. We dined at Coghurst last Thursda}^ and 
met Mrs. Camac, Mrs. Nouaille, and Mrs. West with a small circle of friends, and had 
a social pleasant visit. Mrs. Camac is going to Paris about the middle of this month, 
she is to be escorted thither by Mr. Wastel Brisco. I think her gay Balls & parties 
will be a loss to the young people of the Neighbourhood. 

I do not know whether I informed you that Mr. Ashburnham has decided for 
his eldest son to enter the Army, and has lately made an application to Lord Hill 
to have John Piers' name placed on the army list, which his lordship readily agreed 
to, but as some time must probably elapse before John obtains a commission, he is to 
be placed at an educational seminary to learn military Tactics & the modern languages. 
The paper last week announced the death of our old friend Mr. Alderman Atkins ; 
he had been in a declining and most melancholy state for some time previous. Mrs. 
G. Wynch died at Pett Rectory on Tuesday last ; she had been confined to her Bed 
and in a most exhausted state for many months which will doubtless reconcile her 
son and Daughter to her departure from hence. Sir William is gone to Catsfield to 
spend the day with Mr. & Mrs. D. Ashburnham, not having seen or heard anything of 
them for some time. Mr. & Mrs. James West are returned to Winchelsea, we intend 
paying them a visit the first fine day. We hear the Infant is a charming child. 
John Petley has obtained his commission, and is preparing to join his Regiment 
at Dublin in about a month. Sir Charles Lamb & Lady Montgomerie left Beauport 
on Thursday last for the continent, with the intention of passing the winter months," 

The next year Miss Humphry writes : — 

' ' Broomham, Febry 4th, 1839. 

. . . I am happy to say we are all well ; Sir William had a cold a few weeks 
since which prevented his dining at Ashburnham, but it was not of long continuance. 
Sir William and Lady Ashburnham beg me to thank you for your kind Invitation ; 
they hope to be in London in the course of the spring, but at present are unable to 
say what may be their plans for that period, At all events they depend on seeing 
you at Broomham in the summer. I have written to Mr. Palmer to enquire whether 
we could m.ake a satisfactory title for a Purchaser to the real Property bequeathed to 
us under the will of our late Father ; as his reply is not quite to the point I shall write 
again & therefore will not enter further upon the subject at present. . . . 

The young people at the Parsonage are all well. Fanny and Honor have passed 
a few days here several times during the Cliristmas holidays. Fanny is gradually 
losing her shyness and is altogether much improved, her appearance is quite that of a 
woman and she is rather taller than Lady A. The little boys all dined here lately, 
& I wish you could have witnessed their enjoyment in contesting a pool of commerce. 
Lady Ashburnham corresponds with Mrs. James West, and yesterday I received a 
social letter from my namesake giving an account of a dance they have lately had at 
the Castle, which she states Alicia and herself to have enjoyed exceedingly. Mrs. 
Stephen Woodgate and four of her sons were present, & nearly 50 of their friends & 
neighbours, not including their own family. She mentions that Miss Bridgeman 
their late Governess is recently very well married to Mr. Darnell, a clergyman, who is 
2nd Master at King's CoUedge School. 

We have not seen Mrs. West lately, but hear she continues to receive good 
accounts of our friends at Greatness. Mrs. Brisco's sister, Mrs. F. Woodgate, has 
been very unwell in consequence of taking a cold ; she is now better and gone for 
change of air to Mr. John Allnutt's at Clapham. I hope Richard [Humphry] will 
let me hear from him when his plans are matured. We hear the Sevenoaks neigh- 
bourhood has been very gay this Christmas ; the new year's ball was attended by 
upwards of three hundred, and there have also been several private balls in the 


neighbourhood, amongst which one given by Miss Yates at Fairlawn where there 
were nearly two hundred persons, including the Military from the Depots of Maidstone 
& Chatham, and is named as having been particularly delightful. We hear Lady 
Georgiana Pratt attended by her nephew Mastr. Stewart was present on both occasions. 
Mrs. Camac is returned from France and is now at Hastings ; she was followed to 
Paris by Mr. Lushington, a gentleman with whom she was previously acquainted at 
Hastings, who acquired so great an influence over her feelings that she consents to 
return to England for the purpose of being united to him. He was very considerably 
younger than herself and said to be of most objectionable character, which latter 
circumstance induced her brothers [Musgrave and Wastel Brisco] to interfere, and 
she has happily been influenced by their representations & given up an alliance that 
could not fail to have been productive of future sorrow and regret. 

The poor of this Parish have been very much considered by their more affluent 
neighbours this winter. A fund has been raised in the Parish to supply them with 
coals at a very moderate charge. Sir Wm & Ly. Ashburnham have given excellent 
soup once a week for a limited time, and supply all their own labourers with flour at a 
very reduced price. Mr. & Mrs. Brisco have given most liberal benefactions — 15 
pair of Blankets to the poor of Guestling, & a liberal supply of meat & bread twice 
to twenty poor families of this Parish, and to double the number of the Parishes of 
Oare and Westfield. Mrs. Luxford is staying at Hastings in consequence of her 
eldest daughter being in a very delicate state of health. Mrs. Mascall lunched here 
one morning last week in her way from Hastings to Peasmarsh." 

This letter, crossed on three sides, is followed by an equally lengthy one in 
April. Mr. Lushington, whose character seems to have been accurately described by 
Miss Humphry , obtained so great an ascendancy over Mrs. Camac, in spite of her prudent 
resolution, as to induce her to share her fortunes with him. Mrs. Camac had a 
considerable fortune of her own, in addition to what she might have received from 
Mr. Camac ; she possessed also the valuable diamonds, which exercised a peculiar 
fascination over her suitor. 

" Broomham, April 15th, 1839. 

. . . You will be sorry to hear that John Piers Ashburnham has been very 
unwell, I fear he was not sufficently careful of himself during the winter. Mr. Watts 
attends him and says he will require care for some time. Honor is much improved 
in health and her Papa talks of taking her to London to see her sister this spring. 
Mr. & Mrs. Brisco do not go to Town till the end of the month ; they have been 
detained at Coghurst by the marriage of Mrs. Camac. On her return to London 
Mr. Lushington renewed his addresses, and his persuasions overcame her more 
prudent resolves. On the loth of this month she became Mrs. Lushington and 
therefore it only remains for her friends to wish she may not have cause to regret this 
ill-advised union. We quite enjoy being restored to pedestrian exercise ; I have taken 
several pleasant walks lately and visited oiu" friends at Coghurst, Fairlight & Pett, 
in some of which walks Lady Ashbiu"nham has accompanied me. . . ." 

Two months later John Piers Ashburnham, the ultimate heir to the baronetcy, 
died. His aunt, Mrs. James West, of Tunbridge, writes : — 

' ' Tonbridge Castle, June 15th, 1839. 
My dear Lady Ashburnham, 

I was much shocked on Sunday last by receiving a letter from my Brother John 
containing the melancholy intelligence of the Death of his son. The sad event 
appears to have been awfully sudden & consequently must have been a most severe 
trial to his poor Father ; his remains passed through here yesterday. Mr. West 
met my Brother at the Crown Hotel and he informed me he appeared in the greatest 
affliction. His two daughters were with him. I think there must have been a great 
change in poor John Piers after you left Sussex. I understand the Funeral is to take 
place to-morrow. . . . May I request you to favour me with a line soon as I am 


very anxious to know how my poor Brother John and his family support themselves 
under their heavy affliction. . . I consider it quite Providential that Mrs. Ash- 
burnham has been spared this severe pang." 

This loss made Anchitel, the second son, the ultimate heir to the baronetcy. 
The last rites are described by Lady Ashburnham, in a letter dated 24th June : 

' * I must now inform you that the Interment of our poor Nephew John Piers 
took place on Friday last. The Funeral was strictly private. Mr. Ashburnham & all 
his children, with Sir William, attended as mourners, & Mr. Watts & the Servants at the 
Parsonage closed the Procession. Mr. Ashburnham is deeply afflicted by the early 
loss of his eldest son. The young people are recovering their composure, and I hope 
now the last duties to the departed have been performed their tranquillity of mind 
will gradually be restored to them." 

She goes on to say, after thanking her sister for a beautiful present of millinery 
from Regent Street : — 

" I suppose Fanny has ere this left you ; I was glad she decided on paying Mrs. 
Nouaille a visit, who I trust will be cheered and enlivened by her society. Julius 
Nouaille spent a morning here last week ; he teUs us Mr. Nouaille is much better, and 
that Miss Nouaille is about paying a visit to Sir Archer Croft at Acton. I am told 
Mr. Harwood only holds the living of Seal for a few years, and that it is to be conferred 
on the son of Mr. Blackall, who you may remember was Tutor to the late Lord 
Pljonouth and died early in life. Mr. Harwood, who is a man of fortune, is altering 
and making considerable additions to Oak Bank and rendering it far too considerable 
a Residence for the Living of Seal to support. I therefore do not despair of again 
seeing our old House the Residence of the Clergyman of the Parish. We hear a 
matrimonial engagement has taken place between Lord Amherst and Lady Plymouth, 
and that the marriage is to be solemnized in the course of July. Lord Amherst 
supported so high a character thro' Life & Lady Plymouth is so amiable that I hope 
the comfort of the Parties may be inhanced by the union. Lord Amherst removes to 
Knowle and Lord and Lady Homesdale are to reside at Montreal. It is a singular 
coincidence Ld. Amherst marrying two Dowager Lady Plymouths. Mr. and Mrs. 
Lushington are separated, Mrs. Lushington allowing him four hundred a year, on his 
engaging not in any way to annoy her. 

It is with much concern I inform you Mr. Denny Ashburnham has been seriously 
iU. He is now I am happy to say much better. If the weather will permit, we 
intend to spend the day at Catsfield on Friday, by which time we hope to find Mr. 
Denny Ashburnham very much recovered. I shall be glad to hear of Ozias [Hum- 
phry's] safe arrival in old England, & that he is well and derived advantage and 
improvement from the voyage. . . ." 

Meanwhile Miss Humphry had been staying with her sister in London, and with 
Mrs. NouaiUe at Sevenoaks. There she was glad to renew her acquaintance with 
her old friends and revisit her former home ; she visited the Wests at Tonbridge, but 
finding the return coach was full, she was obliged to pass the night with the Woodgates 
at Ferox Hal!. She says (June 29th) : — 

' ' You see by the Paper the marriage of Lord Amherst with Lady Plymouth has 
taken place. The ceremony was performed at Knowle on Tuesday last by Mr. 
Curteis in the presence of Lord & Ly. Holmesdale, Ly. Sarah Amherst, the Marquis of 
Downshire, and Mr. Clive. It is said Lord & Ly. De la Ware do not like the match ; 
none of the family being present on the occasion appears to confirm the rumor. The 
work people & their families with the children of the National Schools were liberally 
regaled on the occasion." 

On the occasion of this ceremony, Lord Amherst presented Mr. Curteis with a 
very handsome silver inkstand, engraved with an appropriate Greek inscription. 


Miss Humphry writes on 17th July : — 

" . . . Mr. Ashbumham is recovering his spirits and his young people are all 
well. Mr. Watts considers change of air and a relinquishment of professional duty 
for a time essential for Mr. Denny Ashbumham, in consequence of which he is gone 
to Ramsgate with his family for a month. Mr. George Palmer leaves this neighbour- 
hood next week, he is anxious to obtain a curacy in London from which we conclude 
his union with Miss Lovell is likely to take place. Mrs. Allnutt and Maria are passing 
three weeks at St. Leonards ; Maria has derived so much benefit from the change of 
air and the advice of Mr. Duke that she hopes altogether to lose her cough before she 
returns home." 

She describes the flower show at Battle, where Sir William was as successful as on 
previous occasions. Sir William adds a postscript ; but the writing shows that his 
seventy years were beginning to take effect. She writes again on 27th August, 1839 : — 

" . . . Mr. West (accompanied by his son William) has been in Town for 
the purpose of having the tumor under his ear extracted. Sir Benjamin Brodie 
performed the operation (which was a severe one) most successfully, Mr. West 
returned home about a fortnight since, quite as well as his family could expect after 
such an operation. The visit of Mr. & Mrs. J. J. West at the Castle has been prolonged 
in consequence of the Scarlet fever being prevalent amongst children at Winchelsea 
& they are unwilling to return home until the infection has quite subsided. 

You will be siurprized to hear that Sir Henry Hcirdinge has purchased South 
Park. It must be a most agreable and gratifying circumstance to his family that 
he should fix on a Residence in their vicinity. In my account of the wedding of Miss 
Hardinge, I did not hear until after I wrote to you that Sir Charles [Hardinge] 
performed the ceremony & Sir Henry gave the bride away. A party of 50 break- 
fasted at Bounds on the occasion, including Lord Camden, Ly. G. Pratt, & Sir Henry & 
Ly. Emily Hardinge. The bride & bridegroom (k) are making a tour of a few weeks 
up the Rhine & on their return take possession of their new house in Park Terrace. 
What a very gay wedding was Miss Cobb's, it must have been quite a gala for the 
Miss Ballads. Mrs. Whitton has sold Stone Wall to Mr. Parks, said to be a gentleman 
of great affluence ; she is coming with her neices to Hastings for the present, and 
intends taking a permanent house at Sevenoaks. Mr. & Mrs. Francis Woodgate 
[of Falconhurst] are passing a week at Coghurst & we are going to call on them this 
morning. Mr. and Mrs. Lushington have adjusted their differences and are making a 
tour on the Continent with the intention of passing the ensuing winter in Italy. 
Many of the gentlemen in this neighbourhood intend being present at the Wellington 
banquet on Friday next. I heartily hope the weather may be propitious and that 
they may ' ' fill Wellington's cup till it beams like his glory." There is in Sir William's 
garden a covey of 16 partridges which have been brought up there, & are so tame 
that they are not disposed to take their flight. The ladies in this neighbourhood are 
very busy and very active in preparing for the Fancy-fair for the benefit of an Infirmary 
Our Ottomans are in progress and I hope may prove creditable to the taste & industry 
of the inmates of Broomham." 

The Ottomans were being worked in worsted for the Bazaar. They were very 
highly esteemed. Lots were drawn for Miss Humphry's Ottoman, which was 
secured by Mrs. Richards of Icklesham. 

' ' Broomham, March 20th, 1840. 
We have not been able to make use of our open carriage much of 
late ; we however took advantage of a mild day last week & went to Hastings, and 
unexpectedly found Mrs. Nouaille with Mrs. West with whom she is passing a fort- 
night ; she regretted not being able to calLon you during her short late visit to Mr. 

(k) The bride was Caroline Bradford Hardinge, second daughter of Sir Charles Hardinge ; 

and the bridegroom the Rev. R. W. Browne, Prebendary of St. Paul's. Their son is now Vicar 
of Hever. 


Rudge. . . . We hope you will be fortunate in letting your house : I can only say 
we shall be truly happy to see you at whatever period is most convenient and agreeable 
to you. Mr. William Streatfeild (the widower), whom you formerly remember, is 
going to be married to one of the Miss Larkings of Westerham, an amiable Lady, & 
the connexion gives great satisfacfion to the Family of his former wife. Mrs. Brisco's 
sister Mrs, Francis Woodgate's little boy is just turned of a twelve months old, and 
begins to talk, and runs alone. I think you will be surprized at the growth of the 
young people at the Parsonage ; Fanny in appearance is quite a young Woman. 
Sir William I am happy to say is in very good health, but is infirm in moving; he 
does not however omit taking a little exercise every fine day, and Fanny & myself 
have made the most of the fine weather for pedestrian excursions. . . ." 

Next in date is a brief note from the Countess of Ashbumham, the first that we 
find preserved, accompanied by an invitation card. It is as follows : — 
* * My dear Madam, 

Lord Ashbumham and I regret extremely that we have been hitherto prevented 
paying you and Sir William Ashbumham a visit, but we hope to have the pleasure 
of seeing you here on the nth and that you will remain the night with us. 

Most tmly yours 

K. C. Ashbumham. 
Ashbumham Place, Septr 4. 1840." 

She writes again a little later : — 

' ' Dear Lady Ashbumham, 

I received the accompanying letter yesterday, and I was about to put it in the 
fire, knowing nothing of the writer, when Lord Ashbumham suggested that it might 
be addressed to you. I therefore take the liberty of enclosing it to you. I hope you 
and Sir William are pretty well and have not suffered from the very cold and trying 
weather we have had." 

The enclosed letter was from Charlotte Lachington, late C. Agote of Seal, who 
requested some assistance for her mother, herself, and four children ; she dilates 
upon the past goodness of the Humphrys at Seal, and recollects Lady Ashbumham 
and her sisters, when children, as "the admiration of the whole neighbourhood." 
The most interesting passage is, ' * my father had the charge of Summerhill during the 
Major's great alterations." 

The last letter to Sir William Ashbumham happens also to be Miss Humphry's 
last. She was staying with Mrs. Hare. 

' ' June 23rd, 1842. 
My dear Sir, 

I cannot express the pleasure the sight of your handwriting afforded me, and 
truly appreciate the contents of your very kind letter, which I shall preserve as a 
valued memorial of your kindness towards me. I regret exceedingly it will not be in 
my power to return to Broomham for the Battle horticultural show ; I shall however 
in idea partake the agreeable httle excitement of preparation, and fancy I see the 
beautiful productions of your garden arranged on your hall table previous to exhibition 
and anticipate your floral triumphs. I hope some of the Geraniums may suspend 
their development untill my return, that I may have the pleasure of admiring them 
with you. 

Yesterday Mr. Sheridan Knowles sent Mr. Hare a ticket for a Dress-box at the 
Hay Market Theatre, and I had the pleasure of accompanying my friends to see his 
new Play of the Rose of Arragon. . . . We did not, my dear Sir, forget the 
anniversary of Tuesday last, & drank your health, with due honors, accompanied 
with every due wish to yourself & yr dear companion. We were admitted to the hall 
of Buckingham Palace by Ld. Liverpool's tickets on Thursday last, & saw her Majesty 
attended by her suite go to the Drawing room. Our view was transient but never- 


theless it was a gratification. I cannot conclude without expressing my grateful 
thanks for all yr kindness and with the pleasing hope of meeting you shortly, I am, 
dear Sir, yr truly affectionate 

Frances Humphry." 

Meanwhile Denny Ashburnham, who was ill before, steadily became worse. 
Mrs. Denny Ashburnham writes from No. i, Park Village West (postmark Great 
Portland), on 21st February, 1842, to Lady Ashburnham on her husband's position, 
Mr. Ashburnham 's case was hopeless, though his sufferings were likely to continue 
for several months. " I have still," she says, " many blessings which I thankfully 
acknowledge ; heavy as my affliction is, it is still blended with comfort. If our dear 
invalid was irritable or violent perhaps he could not be with us, now I know that I 
have it in my power to administer to his happiness ; he is always delighted to see me, 
and I pass a large portion of every day with him." 

Mr. James, their curate in charge at Ditchling, had been supplying for them at 
Catslield, and was engaged to do so till the middle of May, when Mr. Ashburnham 
purposed to return ; and if it was found that the climate of Catsfield did not suit him, 
he would then resign. He was in a position of complete helplessness, and the manage- 
ment of everything devolved upon his wife. She writes : — 

' ' Happily Mr. Ashburnham having always confided his affairs to me I know 
precisely what his means are, and it will be my great desire to keep strictly within 
our income. I mentioned to you that long previous to my dear husband's malady 
he had given me a power of attorney to receive his dividends, and hitherto the Mr. 
Kells have raised no objection to paying me the monies they receive ; now there are 
no other sources from which our income is derived." 

On 27th February, 1843, she writes again :— 

" My dear Lady Ashburnham, 

Mary wrote you word last week that her dear Papa was much worse than he had 
been ; I grieve to say my account to-day is even worse, he is very ill, indeed in as 
alarming a state as it is possible. I am very unhappy about him ; his entire loss of 
mind has for some time rendered it a most difficult thing to prescribe for him, and as 
he is now suffering from an internal disease which wastes his strength more than he 
can support by nourishment (though given every quarter of an hour) we have every- 
thing to dread. I will write again by the next post. I am, my dear Lady Ashburn- 
ham, yours most affectionately 

Harriet Ashburnham." 

Very soon afterwards he died, in his seventieth year. His death took place 
within a month of that of his brother. Sir William, whose health had been slowly 
breaking up ; the latter died 21st March, 1843, aged 73. A considerable number of 
letters that were written upon this occasion have been preserved, namely, from his 
brother John ; his sister Mrs. James West ; his niece, C. M. West ; Mr. and Mrs. Hare 
and Juliana Humphry ; Mrs. Denny Ashburnham ; H. Ashburnham (Mrs. George 
Ashburnham) ; Mrs. Nouaille * ; and Mr. Palmer. Of these, the letter of his brother, 
who by the event became Sir John Ashburnham, must serve as a specimen. 

" Rectory House, March 25, 1843. 
Dear Lady Ashburnham, 

I beg to offer you my sincere condolence on the bereavement you have sustained 
by the death of my poor Brother. Having myself experienced two of the greatest 
deprivations incident to this mortal state, be assured that I can duly appreciate & 
sympathize with your feelings on this mournful occasion. As soon as intelligence of 
the melancholy event reached me in London, I returned home by the earliest con- 
veyance & arrived here this morning by the Mail. I trust it is almost unnecessary 

* See Reference Sheet. 


to add that if I can render you any assistance my services are at your command. 
With kind regards to Miss Humphry beheve me, dear Lady Ashburnham, your 
very truly 

J. Ashburnham." 

Sir William left his affairs in some confusion. His will, dated 24th December, 
1842, declared that, instead of the jointure of :{5oo a year provided by the marriage 
settlement, Lady Ashburnham should enjoy a life estate in Broomham, the garden 
and Park, and the several lands and farms (including the Church Farm of 100 acres) 
therein named ; at her death the Broomham estate was limited to his brother John for 
life, with a limitation to his nephew Anchitel for his life, with remainder in tail male to 
the sons of Anchitel. There were several limitations over in case of default. 

Sir William left to Lady Ashburnham absolutely all his interest in the Moat, 
Cowden ; Higham farm in Guestling, containing 22 acres ; the contents of Broomham 
(except plate and pictures, which were to be hers for life only) ; certain Peruvian 
Bonds and a legacy of £1,500 in cash. He left the following legacies : — ;£i,ooo each to 
his brother George Ashburnham and his sister Alicia West ; £500 each to his nephew 
James John West, his nieces Mary Ellen and Harriet, daughters of Denny Ashburn- 
ham, and the Rev. John William Dugdale ; £100 to his servant John Holmes ; a 
year's extra wages and mourning for all the servants ; £50 to each of his Trustees, 
John Ashburnham, George Palmer, and William Henry Palmer ; and an annuity of 
;^ioo a year to his brother George for his life — £500 was left for the publication of 
some of his manuscripts. The residue was to be sold and applied under the trusts 
of the will. 

It is to be feared that Sir William Ashburnham neglected to take a compre- 
hensive survey of his property at the time of making his will, with the result that he 
had no adequate fund for the payment of his debts and legacies. The Peruvian 
Bonds at the time of Lady Ashburnham 's death consisted of Bonds to the nominal 
value of ;^7,300, worth about ;£6,ooo in cash ; these however were bequeathed to Lady 
Ashburnham together with his household and farming effects. Apart from these, 
his personal estate was inconsiderable. In consequence of the variety of interests 
involved, it was decided to sell that portion of the estate which was unentailed. To 
obtain the consent of the Court to the various arrangements, a friendly suit in 
Chancery was commenced. The unentailed property was accordingly valued by 
Mr. Thomas, and upon that valuation a portion of the property was purchased by 
Lady Ashburnham ; the advowson of Winchelsea was bought by James John West ; 
and the rest, by far the most considerable part, was purchased by Sir John Ashburn- 
ham. The purchase was not confirmed by the Court till January, 1846, and not 
completed till 1848. It may be imagined that negotiations were protracted, and the 
expense, owing to the number of parties, for the most part represented by different 
solicitors, must have been enormous ; but the Palmers conducted the difficult matter 
to a successful conclusion. The original liabilities existing on the land were paid, 
the debts had already been settled, and the legacies were satisfied. We believe 
that this suit of Ashburnham v. Ashburnham is a leading case in equity. 

That portion of the unsettled estate purchased by Lady Ashburnham consisted 
of the Place Farm, comprising 155 acres, the Kitchen Wood of 39 acres, and the 
Bench Field Wood of 7 acres ; the purchase money amounted to £4,700, Lady 
Ashburnham's means thus consisted of her purchase, her Hfe estate in the settled 
property, £7,300 in the Peruvian Bonds, her share of the Moat Farm (worth at that 
time about £6,000), Higham Farm, her funds which having been settled on her 
marriage became by Sir William Ashburnham's death without issue absolutely vested 
in her and her own private fortune which was not inconsiderable. Besides this, 
her sister, Mary Anne Humphry, died in the same year as Sir William, by which she 
came in for some thousands of pounds. 


A brief account of George William Ashburnham, the youngest son, should be 
given. In 1803 he joined the 3rd batt. Cinque Port Volunteers as Lieutenant ; but 
it does not seem that he followed any regular profession. His wife brought him not a 
penny of fortune, but a large and ever increasing family ; his own fortune, which was 
left him by his father and other relations, was necessarily modest, and appears to 
have been wasted by injudicious management. Sir William Ashburnham afforded 
him some assistance during his lifetime, and after his death, as has been mentioned, 
left him ;^i,ooo and an annuity of £100 a year, but other help was required — and the 
estate was not wound up for some years. 

In 1842, Lord Ashburnham endeavoured to do him some service. There is a 
letter of the Countess of Ashburnham, dated 25th January, 1842, requesting Lady 
Ashburnham to inform her of his precise position ; she replies : — 

" . . . Mr. George Ashburnham has unfortunately lost the little Property 
bequeathed him by his Father and other Relations by injudicious management. I 
have little personal knowledge of Mrs. George Ashburnham, but believe she has much 
to contend with & her situation to be one of great distress, arising from pecuniary 
involvement & a numerous family. They have five children, having lost four 
children. Sir William Ashburnham allows his Brother one hundred a year 
besides casual assistance, which is the utmost his circumstances enable him to do ; 
they have no other certain dependence, and I fear this sum must be very limited for 
the support of so large a Family. Your Ladyship kindly enquires in what manner 
your assistance might be useful, which induces me to take the Liberty of stating that 
as the Family consists chiefly of Boys, if Lord Ashburnham and yourself could 
kindly exert your Influence in obtaining admission for any of them into any of the 
charitable Institutions for the education of Youths whose Parents are in distrest 
circumstances, it would be conferring a very essential benefit. The eldest child is a 
girl, the next a promising youth of fifteen, who has a decided Talent for Drawing. 
Mr. Prout, the eminent artist in water colors who is resident at Hastings, has for some 
time kindly given him gratuitous instruction in drawing. The next son is a fine 
Boy of ten years of age, the other Children aU Boys proportionately younger. ..." 

A year later, George Ashburnham writes : — 
' ' My dear Lady Ashburnham, 

I am much obliged by the receipt of your favour this morning ; in answer I am 
constrained to say, this long promised favour, I fear, is unavailable at present, other- 
wise I should be extremely happy to accept it, as I had all along set my heart and 
mind on hopes of some admission to this school ; but my two youngest Boys I fear are 
precluded, William being Eleven last summer, and John Woodgate now only just 
turned three years of age, the one too old and the other a very long time to look forward 
to. But I wiU not despair ! another opportunity may, and I trust will occur, in aid 
of my dear children's education. Trusting (as no news is good news) my Brother 
yourself and Miss Humphry are all well, I remain, my dear Lady Ashburnham, 
yours truly 
6 Meadow Cotgs., Jany. loth, 1843. G. Wm. Ashburnham." 

Mrs. George Ashburnham writes to Lady Ashburnham, on ist March, 1844, 
thanking her for some assistance and hoping that Sir WiUiam's estate will soon be 
wound up and the legacies and annuities paid. She says : — 

" . . . It is such an expensive time and there are Eleven to provide for every 
day ; it almost turns my own senses to think of it, and yet I must, as poor Mr. Ash- 
burnham does not know what to do. . . I have also to thank you kindly for a 
present of a Bible and Prayer Book to Denny [the second son, aged twelve], it was the 
very thing he had been wishing for and I promised him he should have one as soon as 
I could make it convenient. He looks at it and admires it half a dozen times a day, 
and says he longs for Sunday to come when he can take his own Prayer Book ; I have 
been obliged to lend him mine, and of course he values it more as a present from your 


Ladyship. This is my grand wish that I may Hve to see my children running in the 
way of God's Commandment, and enabled to get their own hving in that state of life 
in which it has pleased God to call them, i.e. worthy of the name of Ashburnham. . ," 

To add to his misfortunes, sufficiently great, George Ashburnham lost his wife, 
and was left alone to contend ^vith the difficulties of his position. His lamentable 
state may be gauged from his letter to Lady Ashburnham, dated i8th July, 1844. 

" . . .1 must conclude, my dear Lady Ashburnham, labouring as I have been 
by the sufferance (not the hand) of Almighty God, the most heartrending afflictions 
I ever experienced. I have buried four precious infants ; I have lost two dear 
brothers in less than three weeks ; and am now bereaved of the Partner of my bosom, 
the Mother of my dear children, and the comforter of my afflictions. Now am I left 
alone to a cruel world with seven children, three of which are under four years and a 
half old. What more cruel afflictions can be reserved for me yet, I know not, but 
while I live and am blessed with strength I will bear more, if greater sufferings I am 
doomed to." 

Unfortunately he was a man of decided opinions, and would only be assisted 
in his own way. Lord Ashburnham was constrained at length to give up the unequal 
task, but through many years Lady Ashburnham extended unvarying help and 
kindness to the family. The children sometimes proved difficult of management, and 
an attempt was made, strongly against his wishes, to educate his eldest son George 
Percy for the Church. He had entrusted him to persons whom he afterwards imagined 
he had cause to distrust. " I was incautious, and too credulous ; " he says, " I had 
not eaten a Pound of salt with them, as my poor uncle Henry Woodgate had enjoined 
me strictly to attend to, as long as I lived." It appears however that his suspicions 
were quite unjustified. George Percy was very kindly treated and sent to Oxford. 
During this period Flora Ashburnham, the eldest child, must have been invaluable. 
She writes on 9th January, 185 1, that her father (who was then jj years old) had 
fallen down one whole flight of stairs, from which he had met with some severe bruises. 
The fall must have shaken him very badly ; she writes six days later, in a shaky 
hand : — 

' ' Dear Lady Ashburnham, 

You will be concerned to hear that my poor dear Papa expired this evening at \ 
past five ; he had been sinking fast during the day & departed without one struggle. 
Thus afflicted I can write no more now. I propose coming to Broomham by early 
van to-morrow morning. 

Yours very truly 
(Monday Night) Flora Ashburnham." 

That year Flora Ashburnham sailed to the Cape to marry the man to whom she 
was engaged, Mr. Colin Campbell, a prosperous gentleman of Grahamstown. William 
and Denny were placed in the London and County Bank, William at Greenwich, 
Denny at Chichester ; in this they continued a few years, and were steadily gaining a 
good position for themselves and winning a way to independence, when they received 
a very advantageous offer from Mr. Campbell to join him in South Africa, which, as 
they in common with the rest of the family were endowed with remarkably good 
health and sirong constitutions, they did ; and no doubt their efforts were crowned 
with success. John Woodgate Ashburnham was sent to Mr. Earle's school at Tun- 
bridge Wells, and afterwards went out to the Cape. Decima was placed at another 
school at Tunbridge Wells and eventually joined her sister at the Cape, as also did 
Bertram, who was educated at Christ's Hospital. George Percy, the eldest son, had 
very decided talents for drawing, but his efforts do not seem to have been so successful 
as those of the other members of his family. What ultimately became of him, we do 
not know. 

Decima made an advantageous match in South Africa, and John Woodgate 
Ashburnham married the daughter of Dr. Merriman, Bishop of GraLamstown. He 

died in 1888, leaving several children, of whom the eldest, John Anchitel, became 
Resident Magistrate at Bloemfontein in the Orange River Colony. 

It has been mentioned that Sir William left £500 for the publication of some of 
his poetical works, having already published some Sonnets and Poems in a quarto 
volume in 1795. Lady Ashburnham undertook the task, and consulted the views of 
Lord Ashburnham and Sir John Ashburnham ; the former recommended Mr. Rodd of 
9, Great Newport Street. There are several letters on the subject ; one, from Lord 
Ashburnham, mentions other and older papers. 

T^ T J A 1-1. 1- " Ashm Place, loth Feby, 1847. 

Dear Lady Ashburnham, -^ ^' 

I accept with many thanks your very obliging offer to allow me to peruse the 
Family Papers which you have discovered at Broomham, and I engage to take all 
due care of them and restore them to you as soon as I have read them. 

I fear that the weather must have prevented Mr. Rodd from leaving town, but if 
he should be at Broomham in a few days, I should propose that he should take charge 
of the parcel, for I think it probable that he wHl come here before he returns to town, 
as I wrote to him by yesterday's post to say I wish'd to see him. I would rather defer 
the pleasure of looking over the correspondence than have documents of so much 
interest entrusted to any less safe mode of conveyance. 

Mr. Hallett's silence is little to his credit. I can conceive no good reason, tho a 
very cogent one might be suggested, for such an incivility. I need not repeat that if 
on this point or any other I can be of any use to you, I shall be very truly gratified to 
be employed. Lady Ashburnham desires her kind comphments to you, & I remain 
very faithfully yours 


Mr. Hughes Hallett was a London solicitor who had written to Lady Ashburnham 
informing her that, in the course of transactions in his office, he had discovered that 
Sir William Ashburnham was legally entitled to certain property, of whose nature he 
gave no hint. Mr. Palmer declared that he was a man of very respectable antecedents ; 
Lord Ashburnham's enquiries, however, had elicited that his character was generally 
considered unprofessional. A good deal of correspondence passed on the subject, but 
it seems that the matter was allowed at length to drop. 

It should be mentioned here that the Earl of Ashburnham and his family proved 
the kindest and most valuable of friends ; their letters are very numerous, and 
invitations to Ashburnham constant. They succeeded in rendering very valuable aid 
to George Ashburnham's family in establishing themselves in life. 

Lady Ashburnham raised one other memorial to her departed husband. In 1858 
she erected in Guestling Church a stained glass East window, the subject being 
Christ feeding the multitude, surrounded by texts and the arms of Ashburnham ; also 
two lancet windows illustrating the Ascension and the Resurrection. The inscription 
was as follows : — 

' ' In Memory of Sir William Ashburnham Baronet, 

Of Broomham in this parish, 

The Poet and Philanthropist. 

Born June 21st, 1769, married July 7th, 1825, 

Juliana daughter of the Revd. WiUiam Humphry, Vicar 

of Kempsing cum Seal in the County of Kent, 
and departed this Hfe, without issue, March 22nd, 1843." 

This window was put up by Ward & Co. at a cost of over ;^ioo ; and when the 
stonemason's charges and other items were added, the amount was nearer ;^200. 
Lady Ashburnham also effected the repainting and varnishing of the hatchments in 
Guestling Church ; newly paved and pewed the Broomham Chancel and repaired the 
Broomham faculty in Guestling Church. These works were finished, and the Church, 
which had been restored, was re-opened on ist August, 1858. 

Lady Ashburnham continued to live at Broomham until her death, which 
occurred 22nd February, 1865, in the seventy-sixth year of her age. 



Elizabeth, the fifth daughter of the Rev. Francis Woodgate of Mountfield. 
b. 29th November, 1750. married in 1778 the Rev. William Humphry, M.A., Vicar of 
Kemsing and Seal, and Rector of Birling, Kent {a). He was the only brother of 
Ozias Humphry, R.A., the eminent miniature painter and the friend of Reynolds, 
of Dr. Johnson, and of Romney. Ozias Humphry was a Fellow of the Society of 
Antiquaries and has left on record some very interesting particulars of his family, 
contained in several unconnected papers.whose purport we have attempted to give, as 
nearly as possible in the same language. 

When this family first arrived in England is uncertain, but the earliest account is 
found of it in Domesday Book, the Inquisitio Gheldi, and similar evidences, from 
which it appears that Humfridus was Chamberlain to King Edward the Confessor, 
and it would seem that he continued in the same capacity with his kinsman William 
the Conqueror, as is manifest from the many favours and grants which he received 
from that Monarch. He possessed estates in Dorsetshire, Somersetshire, and other 
counties. The arms of this family were recorded in the College of Heralds upon its 
first establishment by Henry the Third in 1340 ; they were first granted to one of the 
Holy Warriors at the Siege of Acre, and the crest — a cross bottone charged with 
five pellets — bears an allusion to the wounds of Our Saviour. In 1380 Sir John 
Humphry was one of the Knights who took part in a great tournament, described 
in an old collection of arms made about 1390. This book, formerly in the possession 
of Sir William Le Neve. Mowbray King of Arms, was purchased for his Majesty, 
in 1795 at the sale of books of Mr. Barack Longmate. The drawing was copied by 
Ozias Humphry, and attested as a true copy by Mr. Barack Longmate ; Joseph 
Edmonson, Mowbray Herald Extraordinary ; and John Trenchard, First Com- 
missioner of Taxes. The genealogy of this family is entered at the Heralds College, 
commencing with John Humphry, whose descendants were believed to be the only 
remaining representatives of the family. 

(a) Henry Humphry of Honitoa married EKzabeth, only surviving daughter and heiress of the 

Rev. Ozias Upcott, for 40 years Rector of Honiton, and left issue 

George Humphry of Honiton, only son, m. EUzabeth Hooper of Braunston. He died 
in 1758, she July, 1789, aged 82, leaving 

1. Ozias R.A., F.S.A., d. unm., 9th March, 1810. 

2. Five other children, not surviving. 

3. William (Rev.), M.A., m. 10th November, 1778, EUzabeth, dau. of the 
Rev. Francis Woodgate of Mountfield (b. 1750, bu. at Seal 23rd February, 1835), 
d. 1816 leaving 

1. William Ozias, of whom presently. 

2. Elizabeth, b. 18th January, 1782, d. unm., bu. 12th June, 1818. 

3. George Upcott, bapt. 2nd April, 1785, d. 10th May, 1803. 

4. Frances, bapt. 4th September, 1787, bu. 23rd December, 1854. at Seal, 

5. JuUana, m. 7th July, 1825 Sir WiUiam Ashbumham, Bart., of Broom- 

ham (her cousin) {see p. 88.) No issue. 
G. Mary Anne, b. 12th January, 1792, d. 27th May, 1843, unm. 
7. John, b. 30th April, 1794, bu. 13th March, 1807, aged 12. 
William Ozias, of the Council Office, Whitehall, b. 18th October, bapt. 29th December, 
1779, bu. at Seal 2nd June, 1826, m. 1813, Louisa, dau. of — Newcombe. R.N., and left issue 
1. WiUiam, d. 1829. 2. Stephen, d. September. 1822. 

3. Richard, b. 1820-1. Left issue, two children. 

4. Frederick, b. April, 1821. 6. Ozias, left two children. 

6. JuUana, m. Mr. Tucker, of Bootle, Liverpool. 


The above-mentioned John Humphry, of Dorsetshire, accompanied the forces 
assembled by Edward VI, in Hampshire, Wiltshire, and Dorsetshire, under the 
command of Lord Russell in the year 1549, to subdue the rebels of Devonshire and 
Cornwall, who had taken up arms to prevent the pulling down of crosses and super- 
stitious appendages of the Roman Catholics, and on account of the enclosing of lands. 
The battle which reduced the insurgents and relieved Exeter was fought at Fenneton 
Bridges, four miles from Honiton. 

It appears by ancient writings (in possession of the family in the time of Ozias 
Humphry) that the beauty of the country and other considerations induced John 
Humphry to continue and settle himself in the Vale of Honiton. where he purchased 
estates which were not finally alienated from the family till 1790. One of his descend- 
ants. Henry Humphry, Gent., married Elizabeth, only surviving child of the Rev. 
Ozias Upcott. for nearly forty years Rector of Honiton, in whose parish Church he 
lies buried under the Communion Table. He preached the first sermon in that pulpit 
after the Restoration of Charles II. The Upcott family is of considerable antiquity 
in Devonshire, and allied to many distinguished west country families. One of them 
married Joan Trelawney of Trelawney ; another Agnes Upton, ancestress of the 
Viscounts Templetown ; and a third, eldest sister of the Rev. Ozias Upcott, married 
WiUiam Courtney of Powderham Castle. 

George Humphry, son of Henry Humphry and Elizabeth Upcott, married 
Elizabeth daughter of Nicholas Hooper of Braunston, Devon. This was the family 
of George Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, who suffered martjnrdom at the West door of 
his own Cathedral. George Humphry was bom at Honiton and was originally 
intended for the Church ; he was educated with great aptitude for learning under the 
Rev. Ezra Cleaveland, Rector of Honiton and author of the Lives of the Courtney 
Family ; but the misfortunes of the family prevented this design. He died in 
1758 leaving a widow and two surviving children, Ozias and William. 

To this family of Humphry belonged Thomas Humphry, Member of Parliament 
for L>Tne Regis in the time of Henry VI ; Michael Humphry, in the second Parliament 
of Charles I ; Dr. Lawrence Humphry, Principal of Magdalen College, Oxford, an 
exemplary Protestant Divine of great learning ; and it seems Sir Orlando Humphry or 

With reference to the latter, the following memoir is certainly interesting and 
possibly valuable. 


"Sir William was the son of Sir Orlando Humphrys, and married a Miss Lancashire 
(whose Father I believe was a Solicitor) ; his brother I well know was a most eminent 
Apothecary, in Clements Lane, Lombard Street, & Father of Mrs. Baker, whose 
picture now hangs in my parlour, and who stood Godmother to me with her cousin 
Lady Humphrys. 

" Sir WilHam was Lord Mayor in 1727, the year King George the Second came 
to the throne, and entertained their Majesties according to custom at Guild Hall the 
29th of October. Lady Humphry was far advanced in her pregnancy; the 
Queen, eager to prevent her kneeling to present the first goblet of wine (as usual), 
struck it off the salver to the great annoyance of both their fine dresses, but plenty 
of warm napkins soon remedied the disaster, and the Queen insisted on a chair being 
set near her, and very freely conversed during the time she sat at dinner. Before 
the Queen retired, she desired to see Lady Humphrys at St. James' as soon as she had 
recover'd the fatigue of that day, to speak to her on a subject not proper to mention 
then, and wished to know the day before that she might appoint an hour to receive 
her in private, without any form, and advised her to come in her private coach, not as 
Lady Mayoress, and quite in a morning dress. This was obeyed, and she was received 
with the greatest affability. 


" The Queen then told her that she heard it was customary for the King or Queen 
to be sponsors for a child born in the mayoralty, and as she had a son wished this 
might be a daughter ; but being aware of the great trouble and expense it would 
cause to her Ladyship, and great inconvenience to herself, begged she would accept her 
first Lady of the Bedchamber to answer for her at the Christening, and if the child 
lived to repeat her Catechism, desired she might be brought to say it in her hearing, or 
she should not think herself discharged from her Duty she had undertaken. 

" Sir William had one son and two daughters. The former died of the small pox 
when only 13, to his great grief. The latter consequently became coheiresses to a 
large estate he had purchased in the parish of Barking in Essex, on which was a 
very old mansion seat which he pulled down, and built another, which he told my 
father, exclusive of many old materials, cost him twenty seven thousand pounds. 
When finished and aired, all Lady Humphrys' relations, with my father and mother, 
were the first company invited to sleep in it and stayed three days. It was called 
Jenkins. The best bed was crimson velvet, two silk damask, their own bed silk 
mohair, the rest stuff damask, and the servants common stuff hangings (cotton 
furniture was then unknown). 

" The eldest daughter married Reginald Ball Warren, Esqr., a Brigadier in the 
army (a title since changed to aide de camp), a most worthy man, who was so much 
in love with her that he offered to take her either with or without fortune, which so 
pleased Sir William that he made a most cruel stretch of parental authority by insisting 
on her marrying him, as her heart she declared was engaged to Colonel Honey wood 
and Mr. Warren was old enough to be her Father. He had an estate in Berkshire 
of ;^3,ooo per annum, kept a set of horses, made her the best and most indulgent 
husband, and she often said gratitude supplied the place of affection and enabled her to 
make him a good wife. They were a very happy couple, and many happy hours 
has the writer of these anecdotes spent in sitting on their knees ; they never had a 
child, and both were very partial to me, but to my great sorrow Mr. Warren died 
before I was seven years old. He left his widow (as he thought) his estate at her 
own disposal, but it did not prove so, for his sister being unhappily married to Sir 
Archer Croft, whose gaming and extravagance deprived him of his liberty many 
years before he died in the King's Bench Prison, and left his lady and four children 
to be maintained and educated by her good brother, which they all were very comfort- 
ably. In a few months after Mr. Warren's decease, his widow married her first Love, 
Colonel Honey wood, who living but two or three years she as soon as decency would 
permit married Thomas Gore, Esqr., who had retired from business some years and 
was esteemed the richest merchant in the City. With him she lived near ten years, 
when Lady Croft (Mr. Warren's sister) happening to have some occasion to apply to 
her Father's will, it occurred to her attorney that her sons were the legal heirs to her 
brother's estate, as he had no children. The most eminent Counsel were consulted 
by both parties, who being all of the same opinion what was termed an amicable suit 
was commenced, and the arrears for the possession from Mr. Warren's decease made 
with abatements to their mutual satisfaction, as there was no appearance of fraudulent 
design in the matter (only mistake) ; but it cost Mr. Gore so large a sum, and proved 
so great a mortification and disappointment to his Lady that she died of a rapid 
decline in less than a year after. 

" Her sister being many years younger and the favourite daughter of Lady Hum- 
phrys, who lived to see her two first children born, she left after a few legacies the 
residue of her large fortune in Trustees' care (of which my Father was one) and I 
have often heard him say that with what she gave at her marriage and left at her 
decease it amounted to £80,000. In 1741 she was married to Charles Gore, Esq., 
of Tring, in Hertfordshire, who was for several sessions of Parliament Member for 
that County, and nephew to her sister's husband. Since my father's death in 1762, 
I have entirely lost all connection or knowledge of the family, by various changes of 
situation ; but have heard from good authority that a few years after Mr. Gore's demise 


his eldest son sold the Tring estate (being in the Army and ordered to the East 
Indies) for £90,000, to pay off the younger children's fortunes, of whom I beheve 
there were seven. I have heard he was very successful and deserving and still living, 
and cannot be above eight years younger than the writer of these anecdotes (at 
Mr. Humphry's particular desire) who was 75 last January. 

Elear. Neale. 1809. 
Brompton, Middlesex. Given to Mr. Humphry, June 29th, 1809." 

The misfortunes of the family have been mentioned ; the same misfortunes 
made it necessary for Ozias Humphry to exert his talents with vigour and industry. 
In 1763 he was invited by Sir Joshua Reynolds to settle himself near him in London, 
and three years later " he exhibited at Spring Gardens a portrait in miniature of 
John Ealing, the old and well known model of the Royal Academy, which was 
universally noticed and admired, and was purchased by his Majesty, who was 
graciously pleased to reward him for it by a present of a hundred guineas, and as a 
further encouragement he had the honour to paint a large miniature of the Queen, 
with other branches of the Royal family. He continued to practise this hne of art 
with almost unexampled success until the year 1772, when a fall from his horse gave 
his head so violent a shock and impaired his whole nervous system so much that he 
was unable to pursue his profession of miniature painting with the same eihcacy 
that he had hitherto done. By the advice of his friends, he was induced to endeavour 
to extend the scale of his practise, and with this intention he resolved to pass a few 
years in Italy, not only for the reason just stated, but with the hope of general 
improvement in his profession. He left England in 1773 accompanied by his friend 
Romney, and proceeded to Rome, where and in the neighbourhood he resided four 
years. In this situation, though surrounded by advantages, he had still many 
difficulties to contend with, for his time had been so entirely engaged by miniature 
painting that he had had little or no practise in oils, and had the whole process to 
discover. In 1777 Mr. Humphry returned to England, where he established himself, 
p€iinting generally in oils until the commencement of the year 1785, when he embarked 
for India. . . ." 

This account, taken from Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers is 
necessary in order to understand the position of his brother, the Rev. WUliam 
Humphry. He left Magdalene Hall with the warmest commendation from Dr. Dennison, 
the Principal, and the Rev. John Allen, the Vice-Principal and his Tutor ; and in 
1767 he was licenced by the Bishop of Winchester to the Curacy and Lectureship of the 
Parish Church of Wandsworth, Surrey. On the 31st December, 1770, he was instituted 
to the Vicarage of the Parish Church of Kempsing, with the chapel of Seal. 

The progress of Mr. Humphry's engagement is briefly traced in the Italian 
letters of Ozias Humphry, who thus delivers his opinion of his brother's proposed 
connexion on first receiving the news. 

" . . . You have made me happy beyond expression by acquainting me that 
you have at length made your proposals to Miss Woodgate and her family and that 
they have been so favorably received. I am so well persuaded of the goodness of 
your disposition that I believe Miss Vv^'oodgate will never have cause to regret her 
connexion with you, and am so satisfied with what little I have the pleasure to know of 
the Mr. Woodgates and with your account of the rest of the family that to be myself 
in some degree connected with them is the most desirable event that can be. You 
have now in your possession near a thousand pounds. I am happy to have it in my 
power immediately to fulfil my promise. I rely upon your prudence in securing my 
money that is in Mr. Child's hands. Let me hear exactly what money you will want, 
and everything shall be done to your Heart's content. I beg you to present my most 
respectful wishes & compliments to Miss Woodgate, and let her know that the I have 
not ye pleasure and good fortune to be personally known to her, I have long enter- 
tained most favourable sentiments and shall from this time encourage an affectionate 


regard for her ; to her Brothers & Family, my most respectful complimts. Your 
letter if anything had been wanting will contribute much to secure my departure 
from Rome. . . . 
Rome, Feby ist, 1777." 

The next letter, four days later, contains further details of the pecuniary arrange- 
ments ; he adds, 

" . . . I think your proposals rather inadequate to Miss Woodgate. Nothing 
upon Earth shall prevent my being in England before midsummer, therefore I should 
think if your Nuptials could be deferr'd till then it would not be amiss." 

Writing on 24th February, he says : — 

' ' I remember very well your description of Miss W — ; what little I have had 
the pleasure of knowing of her Brothers I entirely approve, and tho I have not the 
good Fortune to be known to Miss W. or her Father, I can have no doubt from your 
acct of them but it will be a connexion both honourable and advantageous for you, 
and productive of much happiness. I have not only no objection to it, but in what- 
ever light I consider it am flatter'd and delighted with the prospect of it, and shall 
be happy to do everything in my power to promote and forward your wishes. I know 
very little of the exact situation of my Mother's circumstances, and therefore cannot 
guess if it wou'd be convenient for her to advance you three or four hundred pounds, 
which I can easily believe will be the least you will want. I should be very sorry that 
any thing shou'd be proposed to her wch wd give her a moments uneasiness or put 
her to the least difficulty. The very few years which in a course of nature she can 
have to live I hope will pass in uninterrupted enjoyment. Therefore whatever money 
you may find necessary to make your proposals reputable and your condition easy, 
I will most willingly furnish you with. I can with convenience let you have five 
hundred pounds of the money in Mr. Offiey's hands to settle upon Miss Woodgate 
if it should be required or as much more as you shall find necessary. You know my 
circumstances in all respects and may command whatever I have." 

Amongst the letters of congratulation is one from John Hughes, an old friend, 
dated 28th July, 1777 : — 

' ' I have been indebted a Letter to you for some time past, but hearing a great 
Peece of News relative to yourself, I could not any longer defer writing to you. This 
News is no less than your being married to 3'e Lady you have so long admired. I 
hope ye Report is true, but as I have my Doubts about it I shall defer sending ye 
usual Compts till I have it confirm 'd under your own hand, when you may expect a 
Letter of Congratulation by ye Return of ye Poste. By this time I hope your Brother 
is safe arriv'd in England & in good Health. He is a lively sensible man & his account 
of the different places he has seen while abroad must be very entertaining. But 
you perhaps (if Report speaks Truth) are so much engag'd in domestick affairs as to 
pay little attention to foreign customs or Fashions. I have lately been in Berkshire 
where I spent a Fortnight with an old Schoolfellow. His name is Townshend. He 
inform'd me yt Mr. Bryan, Master of Magdalen School, Oxford, whom you knew, 
has some time since paid ye last Debt to Nature. If he was not ye most sensible in 
ye University, yet he was generally thought a good sort of man, and you know we 
ought always to speak well of ye dead. 

I was very glad to hear yt ye Duke of Dorset behaves so kind & Friendly to you, 
& hope yt his Grace, as soon as it is in his Power, will make you a Pluralist. When 
you see his Grace & have a good opportunity, please to make my respectful Compts to 
him. It gave me great Pleasure to hear that Mr. alias Dr. & Mrs. Whitfield were m 
good Health. Pray make my best wishes to them. I hope to see Dr. Whitfield's 
name soon in ye news Papers with his being appointed at least to a good Prebendary. 
I don't like ye Character you give of Mr. Manesty, but I hope ye Breach between him 
& Dr. Whitfield is by this Time made up. Please to make my respectful Compts to 
Sir Charles & Lady Farnaby, & you will oblige your sincere Friend & humble Servant, 
July 28, 1777. John Hughes." 


The following verses on Elizabeth Woodgate could hardly have been^written 
by Mr. Humphry : — 

" To Miss Elizabeth W e of Mountfield in Sussex, written by one of her 

admirers in the year 1766. 

No lass on famed Britain's plains, 
Where Beauty all triumphant reigns. 

Dear Betsy can outvie ; 
Her artless charms no muse can tell 
Nor can the rising sun excell 
The radiance of her Eye. 
Unnumber'd graces round her move, 
At once inspiring awe and love. 
How heavenly is her smile ! 
With what a sweet bewitching mien. 
Not to be told or safely seen, 
She can the hours beguile. 

Good nature, cheerfulness and ease 
Improve the fair one's power to please, 

Which no vain pride destroys ; 
While meaner Beauties gain by arts 
Of vulgar growth the coxcombs' hearts. 

She scorns the worthless joys. 

Be bold, my Muse, and tell the Fair 
No tinsel charms can e'er ensnare 

A heart that's worth the pains ; 
A short lived flame indeed may raise. 
Which rapid as it grows decays. 

And scarce a day remains. 

But would you fire the real love 
Of swains of worth and sense approve. 

Pursue my Betsy's plan ; 
No other way you can succeed ; 
For tho' you may the monkey lead. 
You'll ne'er secure the Man." 
The marriage articles provided that Mr. Humphry should settle ^^1,500. and the 
Rev. Francis Woodgate ^1.200. which was duly carried out by a Settlement dated 
September. 1783. of which Ozias Humphry of Thornhaugh Street. London, and 
Henry Woodgate of Riverhill were the Trustees. This sum would produce about 
;^ioo a year. Mr. Humphry had also the living of Seal cum Kemsing ; and in 1782 
he was instituted on the presentation of Lord Abergavenny to the Vicarage of Birling. 
Kent. It is also possible that Mr. Woodgate made his daughter some allowance 
during his lifetime, and he certainly remembered her very handsomely in his will. 
At first however the Humphrys had a very limited income ; but as they were both 
exceedingly prudent and economical, that was no great hardship. They were married 
at Mountfield. by licence, on loth November. 1778. and on the 12th Mr. Humphry 
is able to report their safe arrival at Seal, in a letter to the Rev. Francis Woodgate. 

' ' Dear Sir, 

I do myself the Pleasure of informing you that we arriv'd safe at Godding Green 
[in Seal] last Night, after as agreable a Journey as the Badness of the Roads wd admit 


of. I am commissioned to assure you that Mrs. Humphry highly approves of her new 
Habitation, & I am pretty confident that in this & every other Situation my greatest 
Happiness will always consist in a constant Endeavour to promote hers. We have 
not yet had the pleasure of seeing the Ladies & your Son [Stephen] at Sevenoaks, 
but they are all well & intend paying us a visit to-morrow Morning. Mrs. Humphry & 
Miss Fanny desire to be remember'd to you, Mrs. Woodgate & their Sister in the 
most dutiful & affectionate Manner, in wch I hope you will permit me to joyn them, 
& believe me to be, Dr. Sr. your most obliged & obedient Servt. 
Godden, Novr 12. 1778. Willm. Humphry." 

The family at first resided in a house at Godden. The next letter indicates a 
desire to settle in the neighbourhood of Mountfield, as Dean of Battle. The Bishop 
of Chichester's eldest son had married Alicia Woodgate. Francis Woodgate's daughter, 
so that a certain amount of interest was not lacking ; but the attempt proved abortive. 

•' Seal, Jany. 28, 1779. 
"D. Sr., 

I take the earliest opportunity of thanking you for your very great kindness in 
soliciting for me the Living of Battle ; & tho' from the lateness of the application. 
I cd not be very sanguine in my Hopes of success, yet, whilst there was the smallest 
Probability of succeeding, I did not doubt but you wd excuse the Liberty of my 
pressing it, especially as the Situation in many Respects wd have been particularly 
agreeable to both of us — but on no account so much so as by bringing us to the 
Neighbourhood of Mountfield. All Circumstances however considered, it is perhaps 
as well for us as it is. for the Dignity annex'd to the Deanery might possibly have led 
us into some Expences that might not quite so well have suited our Circumstances. 
& I assure you, Sr., that I have put the Living of Seal on so good a Footing, & without 
the least Dispute with any of my Parishioners, that in future it will afford us a very 
comfortable income, & I am informed by those who are much better judges of it than 
myself that my Farm, when once got in order, is likely to turn to a very good Account. 
We saw Mr. Davies (aa) for a few Minutes last Monday Evening at Sevenoaks, as 
we were returning from a visit to Mrs. Shorte, & he has promis'd to favor us wth his 
Company next Monday Se'nnight. I am desir'd by Mrs. Humphry to thank Miss 
Sally for her Letter, & Miss Anne for her Note. We both anticipate great Pleasure 
in the Hopes of seeing you & Mrs. Woodgate at Godden early in the Spring, when I am 
reall}^ of Opinion you will joyn with us in thinking that our House & Situation are very 
agreable. I am commissioned by Mrs. Humphry to present her Duty & best Respects 
in wch, Dr Sr., permit me to joyn her & to conclude myself with great sincerity, 
your most oblig'd & affectionate Servant, 

William Humphry." 

As there are several hundreds of Humphry letters, it is impossible to set out each 
one at length ; most of the earlier ones are from Ozias Humphry, full of all the London 
news of the day. We will content ourselves with extracts relating to the county of 
Kent and the different members of the family. He writes on 6th November, 1779. 
from Newman Street : — 

" . . . You acquaint me that Mrs. Humphry and yourself will soon be in 
London on a visit to Mrs. Acton [her sister]. I can only say that whatever time you 
can spare for me I shall be very thankful for, and will do every thing in my power to 
render your stay in London agreeable to you. Mr. Farmer brought me a most obliging 
message from Lord Frederick Campbell wth permission in a very ample manner to me 
to study at my Leisure the collection at Coombe Bank &c. I expect every hour 
likewise an invitation from Mrs. Perry of Penshurst to come there to copy the 
Sacharissa of Vandyke." 

{aa} Mr. Davies must have been either the curate at Mountfield or the husband of Mary Woodgate, 

a first cousin of the Rev. Francis Woodgate, being a daughter of Thomas Woodgate of St. 
Sepulchre's, London. 


On the birth of Elizabeth, the second child, on i8th January. 1782. Mr. Humphry 
received the following letter of congratulation from the Duke of Dorset. 

' ' Gro. Sq. Jan 19th. 1782. 
Few words are best upon happy as well as melancholy occasions, and I shall only 
desire you to read the enclosed letter ; at the same time I sincerely congratulate 
Mrs. Humphry and you upon the agreaUe contents. I am with great truth, your 
most faithful humble servant 

Here is another specimen of the Duke of Dorset's correspondence, an invitation 
to dinner. 

" Knole, Sun: night. 
The Duke of Dorset's compliments to Mr. Humphry, and acquaints him that he 
gives to-morrow the duplicate of the Haunch of Venison he gave on Saturday to 
his brother. The Duke and Duchess of Dorset both hope to see Mr. and Mrs. Humphry ; 
the hot weather will not allow the haunch to wait a later day. The Duke and Duchess 
of Dorset leave Knole for some time on Wednesday. The dinner hour is half past 
four. ...(&) 

On 6th February. 1782. William Humphry was instituted to the Vicarage of 
Birling. to which reference is made in the next letter. Ozias was something of a 
genealogist ; he was in 1798 elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on the 

(6) A propos of this, the following lines were written by J. F. Sackville, one of the family of the 

Duke of Dorset, on 25th September, 1792. 

In Europe there's a savage race 

Of cruel kind of men. 
There is not one true honest face, 

Not even one in ten. 
Now all the men in arms do rise 

And Uberty do cry ; 
The air resounds with dreadful cries ; 

All must consent or die. 
Perhaps they will behead the King, 

And also kill the Queen, 
Which will be the most horrid thing 

That ever yet was seen. 
And now the streets, as we are told. 

Are in a gore of blood 
And human bodies not yet cold 

Lay on the sanguine Flood. 
They now come here, our bread to thieve. 

But stiU I have no care. 
But that they will behind them leave 

Their horrid customs there — 
And let us honest Britons hke 
Be merry, dance, and sing. 
True to ourselves, our Country's right. 
And true to George our King. 

J. F. Sackville hoc composuit, September 25th. 1792." 
The author was only a child ; but it shows the detestation with which even children regarded 
the proceedings of the French. The production was shown to Mr. Humphry, who wrote under 
it these lines : — 

' ' How am I pleased to see my Friends excell, 
In Nature's great Perfection, writing well ? 
But when they spring from an illustrious hne, 
Who paid due Honours to the Sacred Nine, 
Where unimpaired the seeds of Genius run. 
With undiminished force from Sire to Son, 
Such worth transmissive claims the loftiest Lays ; 
Praise less than this were impotence of Praise. 
That Praise, O Sackville, may you learn to boast 
Nor let your great Forefather's Fame in you be lost. 
^ ^ W. H." 


nomination of the President, Lord Leicester, and spared no exertions in seeking out 
memorials of his family. 

' ' Dear Brother, 

I trouble you with this to beg to know for certain from you when the great 
cricket day and Ball will be at Sevenoaks, because it is my Intention to come and to 
bring with me Mr. Jackson of Exeter for a day or two. You know he never tastes 
wine, so that you will have nothing to provide for him but a little meat, pudding, 
water & a bed. I cou'd wish to see your new living at Birling and if you had leisure 
to go on to Rochester I shou'd be very well pleased that we might visit together the 
Tombs of two of our great-great-grand aunts who lie buried in the Cathedral there, 
wth monuments & inscriptions to their memory & arms &c wch I have discovered 
within a few days past. I am pretty much engaged at my leisure in a search for 
family records in wh I have been greatly successful. I shall bring down with me an 
authenticated evidence from the Heralds Ofhce of four hundred years, & I believe it 
traceable back to the reign of Edward the Confessor before the Conquest, as it is 
certain from Doomsday Evidence & the Inquisitio Gheldi that a namesake who was 
Chamberlain to that prince held Lands in Devonshire at that very early period, but 
of this more when I have the pleasure to see you. . . . My best compliments to 
Mr., Mrs., & Miss Noaille. . . . 
Newman St., June 2, 1782." 

Miss Nouaille afterwards married Mr. Rudge ; and her only brother married 
Anne Woodgate of Summerhill. 

In 1784 Ozias Humphry resolved to pass some three or four years in India and 
return with a fortune. Willison had just returned with ^^30,000 made by painting 
there for eight years ; Smith was the only tolerable miniature painter in that country, 
and had accumulated ;f 20 .000 in five years ; Mr. Humphry would have been contented 
with £10,000, which he declared would " give serenity to the prospect of old age." 
He was anxious to leave some permanent property in the family upon which his 
successors might start. The fact is. he was of a very extravagant disposition, a man 
who would spend his whole income, be what it might ; and a more perfectly sanguine 
man would be difficult to discover. He states in a letter to his brother : 

" . . . You say I ought to be contented if I can make four hundred a year 
&c. I never have made less than six, wch I dare say I could increase, but I never 
will ; for it would inevitably leave me an anxious & miserable old age, full of want, 
disappointment and wretchedness. . . ." 

Before his departure he went down to Honiton to pay a last visit to his mother, 
whom he expected never to see again. She suffered from no particular complaint 
but was slowly decaying. He writes to his brother : — 

" . . . Whenever you go, make a point of carrying some sermons, as the 
people there desire exceedingly to hear you preach. . . There was an assembly 
whilst I was at Honiton wch proved a very agreeable one. I dined once with Mr. 
Putt at Combe, and at Mr. Blagdon's where the card clubb happened to be, once at 
Mr. Card's, & with all that family at Mrs. Baker's, and all the Family with Mr. Tucker 
dined with us at my Mother's. Mr. Tucker's kindness and attention to my Mother 
is more like another son than a Friend of the Family. She is also particularly happy 
in a servant who is really much attached to her & to her interest. Mr. Card's Family 
& Mrs. Baker are very kind & attentive to her. I made a slight drawing of her which 
is very like her and from wch I mean to make a regular miniature. . . I have also 
a sketch of our House & of Hembury Fort from my Bedchamber window, & one or 
two other slight things. ... My very best Complimts to Miss Sarah & to Mr. & 
Mrs. Henry Woodgate. . . ." 

He sailed in January. 1785, on board the Francis. He had heard, with some 
disgust, that the stories of " the golden East " had had a similar effect upon three 


other artists as upon himself, and they had all manifested a desire to try their fortune 
in India. Amongst them was Mr. Smart, the miniature painter. Mr. Humphry's 
House in London was let to Lady Clark, and the management of his affairs entrusted 
to his brother, but unluckily either Mr. Acton or Mr. Winter neglected to make out his 
power of attorney. He says : " I trust & hope Mrs. Woodgate [of Mountfield] is 
better. To-morrow I will put on for one month mourning for my dear & much valued 
Friend Mrs. Acton." 

Mrs. Woodgate died that month. In May, Mr. Humphry paid a visit to Honiton, 
which was the occasion of the following : — 

" Seal. May ye 29th. 1785. 
My dear Husband, 

. . . We all set off for Mountfield to morrow morning, as I received a letter 
from there yesterday informing me yt it wd be perfectly convenient our coming at 
this time, & that my Father would send for us to Lamberhurst & Mrs. Woodgate 
[of Riverhill] is so kind to take us as far as Tunbridge, when we mean to take a 
chaise to Lamberhurst. I shall certainly return the day you do, as we shall be all 
most anxious to see you after so long an absence. Brother Henry most kindly 
suppHed me with the sum I wanted. I dined at Mr. Winder's on Friday according to 
appointment & met the intended party. Mr. Pratt called & drank tea here on 
Monday ; he came to ask you to go with him to River Hill the next day. Your 
lambs are all in perfect health, not any of them sold but I believe Moyse is to take 
some of them this week. Mr. Fleming did Duty at Seal this morning & walked home 
with me & eat a beef stake, as he was going to Kemsing this afternoon ; he said Dr. 
Witfield has Company & Edward's people were from home. Poor man, he seemed 
most happy in obliging you. 

Harry Hardinge has been applying for the Living of Shoreham but is not likely 
to succeed. This I had from Mr. Pratt. He went to Bayham yesterday. Mrs. 
Powell has taken the House opposite to Mr. Streightfield's. Mrs. Hardinge continues 
very poorly, I imagine they will be at the Grove before you reach Seal. Mr. Powell 
came agreeable to his appointment tho he sent a letter by the Post to say he could 
not possibly come till Thursday sevenight ; he said he had waited in Town a fortnight 
& could not get Ordained. Poor dear Ann [Woodgate] continues very indifferent 
indeed ; Mrs. W. says she never saw any person look so ill." 

Mr. Pratt, who subsequently succeeded as Earl Camden, lived at this time at 
Wilderness, near Sevenoaks. In 1789 Ozias Humphry returned ; he had realized 
large sums, but had left a great deal still owing — particularly from the Nabob Vizier 
of Lucknow. He writes in reference to the Duke of Dorset's marriage, on 9th 
January. 1790 : — 

" . . . It is not at all surprizing to me that the Duke thought it proper for 
Mr. Curteis [Rector of Sevenoaks] to marry him. What a gross affront would it not 
have been to have passed over the Rector of his parish ? & one too whose family he 
has so long known ? I have not yet seen Palmer, but shall send to him this Evening 
to know if he is in Town. Harry Woodgate has not wrote to me as yet. If he 
should ever mention any thing of my concern to you. it is proper he shou'd be informed 
that my acct to him was made out as if it was for Lord Stanhope or Sr Charles Famaby 
& I expect that his for the interest of his money be made out in the same manner. . . . 
Will [Humphry] promised to translate for me one of the Epistles of Ovid ; pray let 
him do it & send it. I shall be happy to have an opportunity of seeing Lord Bayham 
to explain my concern to him & cannot but flatter myself that the issue will be 
favorable. Sir Samson Wright told me this morning that in one of yesterday's 
papers it was asserted that you had married the duke ; to which I replied, it was not 
very unlikely but that I knew nothing of the matter. I have not seen the paragraph. 
It is expected the dutchess of Dorset will be presented to the Queen on Thursday 
next, previous to the Birth day, on wch day no presentations are made." 


The " concern " was evidently the Nabob's bond, in which Henry Woodgate 
seems to have been the counsel employed, and Mr. Palmer the solicitor. The Duke, 
whose seat was at Knowle Park, was patron of Ozias Humphry, and also of his 
brother. Of the other families in the neighbourhood, the Pratts lived at the Wilder- 
ness, and also at Bayham Abbey ; Mrs. Hardinge, daughter of Sir John Pratt the 
Lord Chief Justice, and sister of Lord Camden, lived with her daughters. Juliana and 
Caroline, at the Grove, Seal, a property belonging to the Pratts ; Lord Amherst at 
Montreal, near Sevenoaks ; the Nouailles at Greatness ; and the Woodgates. of course, 
at Riverhill. 

Mrs. Humphry, Senior, died in 1789, aged 82 ; the best pictures, prints, and the 
pick of the furniture were taken by Ozias Humphry, the remainder sold, including 
a quantity of valuable Honiton lace. Ozias Humphry writes from St. James' Street, 
25th March. 1790 : — 

" Mrs. & Miss Hardinge did me the favor to call yesterday with Miss Nouaille 
(who by the way grows coarser & coarser) & sat with me more than an hour. They 
behaved with great kindness, asked after you, offered to bring any parcel or convey 
any thing for you, invited me to see them & behaved to me in the highest degree 
satisfactorily. ... I have neither seen or heard of Mr. or Mrs. Cleaton [formerly 
Miss Acton] lately, or of Mr. Henry Woodgate. I wish much to make a little whole 
length of Mrs. Humphry, & if I cou'd, wou'd spare her a week at Easter. I am 
delighted with Lord Bayham, there seems such a radical integrity about him. He is 
to have Palmer it seems for a Colleague at Bath. It pleases me exceedingly that the 
Duke's friend is so likely to prosper in Kent. Remember me in the kindest manner 
to Mrs. Humphry & the Children, & tell Will he shall have his Heraldry again in a 
week or two when I hope he will turn it to good account." 

Meantime the children were growing up. William was eleven ; and after him 
came Elizabeth, George Upcott, Frances, and Juliana whose godmother was Miss 
Juliana Hardinge. Her uncle had wished her to be named Matilda, an old family 
name. Mary Ann and John were born three or four years later. The Reverend 
Francis Woodgate died in 1790 ; and Mr. Humphry applied to the Duke for the 
vacant livings. Mrs. Humphry writes to her sisters : — 

" . . . You wish to know of Mr. Humphry's application for the Livings in 
order to exchange them with Mr. Rideout, which Brother Henry informed us wd be a 
great accomodation to him. He applied to the Duke in the most pressing manner 
in the presence of the Dutchess. His Grace did not refuse him but said he had gone 
a great way in promising them, but still Mr. H. thinks he has some chance of succeeding. 
After what he has said 'tis impossible he can say a syllable more about it. If we 
know any thing further you may depend on hearing. 

If a change of scene wd be agreeable to any of you, I am sure we should be 
rejoiced if you wd come to us. I hope my dr Ann has not particularly suffered in ye 
late scene of distress. Mr. Humphry unites in kindest Love & most sincere condolence 
to you all. I remain, my dear Sister, your most affectionate & sincere in affliction, 
November ye 13th. Elizabeth Humphry." 

The three unmarried daughters, Rose. Sarah, and Ann Woodgate, settled at 
Tonbridge, not many miles from Seal ; from Tonbridge they frequently drove over to 
see their sister, or received her there. 

The Rev. Francis Woodgate left Mrs. Humphry a farm called Mowsers in Eden- 
bridge, in the occupation of Holmden, containing fifty acres ; a property in Sevenoaks 
called Skeen Hill, in the occupation of the Duke of Dorset ; and ^^500 in cash. It 
seems that they sold Mowsers. Ozias Humphry writes : — ' ' I want much to discourse 
with you upon the late addition Mrs. Humplu-y has had to your Fortune, I imagine 
that by a part of it you will be able to confer a lasting obligation upon the D. of D. 
[Dorset]. Miss Ford tells me she conceives any Estate you may have near Westerham 

1 69 

cannot but be very valuable. I have the pleasure of seeing Miss Ford often ; I 
apprehend her Mother is in the last Extremity, she has been gradually declining for 
the last three months. I long to see William & George & all the other children. I 
expect that William will do honor to the name." 

Ozias Humphry evidently refers to a possible sale of Skeen Hill to the Duke ; 
the land near Westerham was of course Mowsers. 

The two youngest children, Mary Anne and John, were born respectively in 
1792 and 1794. Of the former, Mrs. Humphry writes to her sister in June, 1792. 

* ' My dear Sally, 

I have been truely concerned to hear you have been so poorly, & more so since 
the report Mr. Humphry made from you, that you thought you should not be well 
enough to come to the Christening, which I most sincerely hope will not be the case. 
If you are still very unwell I am sure change of air will be of the greatest service to 
you, & I shall be heartily vex'd if I can't see you. I have myself been very 
indifferent since I wrote to you, & have had such an inflammation in my eyes that 
I was near blind for ten days. They have been rather better lately but Mr. Taylor 
thinks I shall not get well for the present. I have been truly delighted with Mr. 
William Ashburnham's Poems, I think it astonishingly clever indeed ; Mr. H. is 
quite as much pleased with it as I am. It is a great treat to me to hear him read 
it, which I am sure he does ten times in a day with the greatest pleasure. I wish Mr. 
W. Ashburnham would come with you to our Christening, I don't know anyone 
whose company wd give me so much pleasure. I long to know how you do. I 
wish you had taken some advice when you was in Town. I still flatter myself 
that you will be well enough to come to us on Thursday, & pray don't think of any 
of your going home at night." 

John's birth is announced to Anne Woodgate by Mr. Humphry in a letter of the 
30th April. 

" Dear Madam, 

I am extremely happy to inform you that our Family has received the addition 
of a fine little Boy. The little Stranger made his appearance about 4 o'clock this 
Morning. I am sorry that the new Part of our House is not quite so dry as I cou'd 
wish it, but by taking care I hope we shall prevent every Inconvenience. If you and 
your Sisters were disposed to take a drive to Seal in the course of next Week, we shall 
be very glad to introduce you to your new Relation ; at the same time we shall 
have an opportunity of shewing you our House, which we are all much delighted 
with. The Papers have inform'd you that Lord Camden was buried at Seal last 
Saturday. The Funeral v/as very proper and respectful. The present Lord Camden 
sent me a twenty Pound Note for the Trouble I had on the occasion, but I have my 
Reasons for wishing it not to be mentioned. The Duke call'd here last Monday, and 
told me he cou'd not express the concern he felt that we had left Godden. He and the 
Duchess are so tenderly attach'd to our Welfare that they particularly desir'd to be 
inform'd of Mrs. Humphr3^'s safety, and accordingly I have sent to them this morning." 

Earl Camden's successor was Viscount Bayham, his eldest son, formerly mentioned 
as Mr. Pratt ; he filled the highest posts in the government of the country and was 
justly distinguished for his patriotic resignation of the large income arising from his 
ofhce of Teller of the Exchequer, namely, we believe, ^^30,000 a year. He was created 
Marquis Camden in 1812, and on several subsequent occasions proved a valuable 
friend to the Humphrys. 

The Humphrys had recently removed from the house at Godden to one which 
they had purchased in 1793 of the lately deceased Lord Camden, and enlarged and 
improved with the addition of a greenhouse and in some other particulars. In 1846 
Lord Camden's grandson bought it back. 

About this time it became necessary to fix upon some school for William. iEton, 
Westminster, and Chiswick were all considered. The inevitable expenses at Eton 
were ;^8o a year, besides casuals, which might amount to anything over another £20. 
Ozias Humphry and a friend whom he had consulted, Mr. Paine of Tunham Green, 
whose house was formerly inhabited by the lately deceased Duke of Dorset, strongly 
recommended Chiswick, one of the most orderly and well regulated schools in the 
Kingdom. Its numbers were limited to one hundred boys ; at Eton there were five 
hundred. Its situation was healthy ; the position was close to Ozias Humphry, 
and lay behind the garden of the Paines, who promised to treat William as one of 
their own children. From the decided manner in which Ozias Humphry writes, it is 
probable that William was removed at once from the school at Sevenoaks to Chiswick. 

In 1796 William was placed in the Council Office at Whitehall, of which he 
became eventually one of the principal clerks. He lodged with a Mr. Scott, who may 
have been identical with the gentleman of that name, the principal usher at Chiswick. 
He writes at some length in 1796 : — 

' ' Smith Square, St, Johns Church Yard, 13 July 1796 
Dear Papa, 

I have not yet asked Mr. Townshend leave to come into the country ; if I had I 
am certain it could not have been granted, as Business has pressed so hard of late that 
we have not been able for this week past to go from the office before half past two or 
three o'clock. Mr. Wadman's absence is in a great measure owing to this, who has 
gone to the sea to try the effect of bathing. As soon as Mr. Wadman returns which 
I hope will be in less than a month, our Business will be in a great measure got 
through, and there will be no obstacle in the way to prevent my coming to the Country, 
and I have no Doubt of being then able to obtain Permission to be absent for a 
Fortnight or three weeks. I have seen little of my Uncle lately, as at the Time I csdl, 
which has been in the Evening, he is generally taking his walk ; he is obliged to use 
Exercise then, as his Avocation prevents him from doing it at any other part of the 
Day. I breakfasted about a week ago with a Mr. Jephson at my Uncle's, a Member 
of the Irish Parliament and a great Friend of Mr. Grattan's. He spoke ver}^ highly 
of Lord Camden [then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland] ; no one, he said, could be more 
liked, and it was wonderful in what a surprising Manner he has conciliated the Nation. 
A particular Instance he mentioned ; Lord Camden frequently called on Lord 
Charlemont, a violent oppositionist, but nothing in the World could prevail on him 
for some time to repay the visits. Lord Camden called on him, in short so often came 
of a morning and sat with him in his Library, and behaved in so courteous a Manner, 
that it was impossible to resist longer. He was obliged to break his Resolution ; he 
has been several times to the Castle and they are at present on the most friendly 
Footing. I received an Invitation through Mr. Lagrange from Mrs. Munster to dine 
with her on Sunday sennight, accordingly I went. Mr. Lagrange accompanied me 
there and we spent a very agreeable Day. Miss Walpole was the only other Person 
of the party. Mrs. Munster particularly enquired after you, my Mama, and the whole 
Family. I likewise dined with Mr. Lagrange on Sunday last. There was no one 
there but myself except a Mr. Kemble, a young Gentleman a Relation of his. I 
called on Dr. Whitfield about a Fortnight ago, he is removed from Westminster to 
Newman Street by Oxford Road. . . Pray give my Duty to my Mama and Love 
to my Brothers and Sisters, and as my Paper is quite exhausted I must now beg leave 
to remain your ever dutiful son 

W. O. Humphry." 

In 1800 Mrs. Humphry and Elizabeth spent several weeks at Hastings, which 
led to an interchange of letters between her and Mr. Humphry. Much of them is 
necessarily taken up with uninteresting domestic details and the consideration of the 
state of health of the different members of the family. Though these circumstances 
must have been full of interest at the time, they can now very conveniently be omitted. 


The first of these letters is from Mr. Humphry to his wife : — 

" Seal. 24th of June, 1800. 
Dear Madam, 

. . . Lady Amherst in the handsomest Manner has given up Montreal to 
Ld Amherst, who I am sorry to say is going to be married to Lady Plymouth who is 
between forty and fifty, so that there is little Prospect of a Family to inherit his 
Honors, or to the Neighbourhood of an eligible Acquaintance. Mr. and Mrs. Thursby 
were at the Grove all last Week. I spent one afternoon with them, and like Mr. 
Thursby very well. He is a sprightly agreable Man. He was at Church on Sunday 
but wd not preach. They invited me to dinner with them several Days, but I 

dechned that as I did likewise an Invitation from Mr. L on Saturday, and 

another from Lord Camden. I am still very stout and so am likely to continue. 
Lady C. and Lady Londonderry were at Church. I met Mr. Taylor at Mr. Wrainch's. 
and he seem'd very uncertain when Mrs, Taylor would go to Hastings, and indeed 
doubtful whether she wd go at all. I hope to find an opportunity of sending what you 
want by some other conveyance." 

The Rev. George Augustus Thursby, Rector of Abingdon, Northants,, married 
in 1800 Frances Pelham, the daughter of Henry Cressett Pelham of Crowhurst Park, 
who had married Jane Hardinge, daughter of Nicholas and Jane Hardinge. Mrs, 
Thursby had one brother, who died unmarried, and one sister, who married Thomas 
Papilion of Acrise Park ; her son assumed the name of Thursby-Pelham and married 
his cousin, the daughter of Thomas Papilion, from whom the Thursby- Pelhams are 

Mr. Taylor was an apothecary of Sevenoaks and by the exercise of this 
occupation earned an income of some £350 a year ; he married a daughter of the 
Earl of Stanhope, and at the time of his death, which occurred not many years later, 
was Paymaster General. One of the conditions imposed upon Mr. Taylor was that 
he shoiild ever continue to pursue his calling in Sevenoaks, but this was obviously 

It would seem that some wine had been ordered by Mrs. Humphry but had 
been delayed at the time Mr. Humphry wrote. The reply, dated from Hastings 
28th June, states : — 

" I am happy to announce that our wine arrived safe this day. Mr. Rideout 
was so kind as to send us six pint bottles that he decanted ofi for us of old port 
that had been in his cellar eight years ; I took it very kind of him* ... I 
fully intended sending this letter by to-day's post had not Sir William Ashburnham 
& Denny call'd & sat an hour with us, which prevented my finishing it in time. He 
was abundantly polite, said he sd call very often to enquire after my health, gave 
us the most pressing Invitation to come to Broomham, which I declined in as civil 
a manner as I cd. Did I tell you my old Friend Miss Frewen is here Bathing for 
her health ? I was very happy to see her, she has called on us several times. Our 
Lodgings stand high & there is a fine opening to the Hills, which tho they are small 
makes them airy. There was a view of a fleet yesterday on the Sea uncommonly 
beautiful, which Sr WiUiam Ashburnham told us was supposed to be the secret 
Expedition sailed. Flour here is very scarce & bad ; very fortunately for the 
place they never had so fine a fishing Season before, they have made above 6 Thousand 
pounds. Will you give our best thanks to the Miss Hardinges for the trouble we 
have given them about the wine. I paid nine & ninepence for the carriage of it. . ." 

Mr. Humphry's reply, on ist July, comments on various points raised in the 
preceding one. He says : — 

' ' Tho you have had so great a Plenty of Fish at Hastings very little has been 
brought here. Neither you nor Betsy however should live too much upon Fish, 

* See Reference Sheet. 


it is too thin and unsubstantial a Food ; a good Beef Steak is infinitely better. . . • 
I think I never was so lucky in Hay Making. We finish'd on Tuesday Night and 
I believe never had so good a Stack of Fodder. We begin at Noah's Ark on Saturday 
Se'nnight. I have bottled off seven Dozen of Cyder and I hope it will prove good. 
I received an Invitation from Lord C. who was then in Town to dine with him on 
Sunday to which I sent an Excuse, and at Church he press'd me to dine with him 
yesterday but I again desir'd to be excus'd, as it wd be inconvenient to leave my 
Family. It will by and by I hope lead to an Explanation. As you are in the midst 
of your Kindred and old acquaintance you will I trust study to pass your Time as 
agreably as possible. Nothing will contribute so much to your Health. I have no 
Fears about Betsy, as I daresay she is all Gaiety and Life. John is very much 
improv'd in reading. They are all to drink Tea on Thursday at Mrs. Brown's, 
together wth Miss Walter. . . ." 

' ' Hastings, July ye 8th, 1800. 
My dear Mr. Humphry. 

. . . I have been walking on the beach an Hour before breakfast, as it 
was not my bathing morning, & have pick'd up plenty of shells for the little dears. 
. . . Sir William Ashburnham walked near an hour with us on the Beach on 
Saturday. He is dispos'd to be very civil, said he cd not offer us anything out 
of his Garden as he had destroy'd it ; poor Man, how ill judged before he has made 
another. All his sons have call'd on us ; Denny I think very much improv'd, he 
said he was rejoiced to hear that George was like to go to Cambridge as he sd be 
so happy in his acquaintance. . . . Poor Mrs. Delves (c) I understand was 
buried at Ashburnham. Mrs. North I hear has got a son to their great joy ; we 
hear Mrs. Horn is now with them. I am glad to hear our Friends at the Grove 
[Hardinges] are so well, we drink their Healths every day together with our good 
Friend Mr. Stracey. Miss Milward sent us a fine plate of Strawberries last night 
but we have not yet touch'd peas, they are gd. a gallon. Our kindest love to our 
Friends at Riverhill and Brother Stephen ; Betsy received a letter from EUen [Wood- 
gate] lately, she is now writing to Miss Ashburnham. I have not heard anything 
of the Rideouts since they left Hastings. . . ." 

' ' Hastings. July ye 15th. 1800. 
My dear Mr. Humphry. 

. . . Mrs. Pelham was so good as to call on us to-day. She came with an 
intention of taking us to Crowhurst for a few days, but we were obliged to decline 
her kind offer. Sir WiUiam Ashburnham has behaved with great kindness. & 
the most obliging attention, has sent us Chickens, beans, peas, strawberries &c. Poor 
Man he seem'd to have great pleasure in it & hop'd I should not think it troublesome. 
Mrs. Whitear is particularly civil & Miss Milward. The latter has taken great 
pains to get us a cheap comfortable Lodging but has not succeeded. The Town 
is very full & a good deal of company coming every day. Charlotte Smith [the 
novelist] is amongst the number. She comes into the Library very often, but I 
have not yet glimps'd her, I wish to do it very much as she is such an interesting 
Character. I was quite grieved to hear of the death of poor Mrs. Whitehead. Has 
Mrs. Taylor given over all thoughts of coming ? Its a very curious sight to see 
the Fish of a morning taken out of the boats for the Markett ; tho there is such 
abundance we have not purchased mackrel under 4d. a piece & other fish in proportion. 
Their great Season for Herrins is now coming on. from which they derive their 
greatest profits. We have not heard from my Sisters, do you know if they are at 
Courtlodge ? Mrs. Murray told me the other evening they were expected. . . " 

" Hastings, July ye 29th. 1800. 

. . . Betsy heard from Alicia to other day ; they [the Miss Woodgates and 
Alicia Ashburnham] purpose coming to Courtlodge after the first shower. Sr William 

(c) Mrs. Delves, the wife of the Rev. WiUiam Delves, Vicar of Ashburnham, was daughter of 

Thomas Swayne of Tonbridge. 


continues his kind remembrance of us. Our opposite neighbour in Mr. Croncke's 
lodgings is a Mr. Otley's Family, very respectable people from Cambridge ; they 
are so good as to send us a daily paper every day. I try to make friends of them 
for the sake of Dr [dear] George, as Mr. Whitear tells me they have shewn his son 
the greatest kindness ; you can't think what a clever young man he is. . . Mrs. 
Children [wife of J. G. Children of Tonbridge] is at last coming to Hastings ; they 
wrote to Miss Cossom to procure Lodgings for them. I went with her to search 
& got a very good one in the high street, at 5 guineas a week, since which the young 
Man has been down & taken a very small one at the sea at 2 & a half ; she is to be 
brought down in a parakeen, a conveyance I have often heard yr Brother discribe 
as used in the East Indies. We often meet Mr. & Miss Murray, she has given us 
many kind Invitations to Beaupore & offered to come & fetch us at any time. I 
am grieved to hear the Dean of Battle continues very iU ; it is lucky for him Dr. 
Whitfield being on the spot to do his Duty. . . ." 

Mrs. J. G. Children lingered for many months at Hastings and died in the 
same year. 

" Seal. 13th Septr, 1800. 

... I walked yesterday to Sevenoaks with Fanny and Julia to call on Mrs. 
Taylor, and was very much concerned to find it in her opinion that Sea Bathing 
has not been of much Service to you. . . . How very unlucky to have so many 
of your Bottles of Wine broke ! I am very much afraid you will be distrest for 
that article and I have it not in my power to assist you. I shall send to your Brother 
Henry on Monday for six Dozen. You will be surpriz'd after all my vapouring 
to hear that I dined at Wilderness on Thursday. It was to meet the Bishop of 
London and Mrs. Porteous. I thought I had done enough to express my Disappro- 
bation of Lord C's late conduct, and that if I had declin'd this Invitation it would 
put a Bar to all Intercourse not only wth him. but hkewise with another great Man, 
in future. They were extremely civil and Lady Camden told me she should see 
Sr Walter Farquhar next Week and would be happy to deliver any Message, as 
she intended to have a good deal of conversation with him with regard to you. They 
all with the Bishop and Mrs. Porteous desir'd their particular compliments. Lord 
Camden and the Master of the Rolls had been that Morning to Tunbridge at the 
concert which was very well attended. Mrs. & Miss Taylor seemed highly delighted 
with Hastings, particularly the latter who very much regretted parting with you. 
After all their Bustle of setting off at . . o'clock in the Morning, they were 
too late for the Concert, and Miss Taylor seem'd very much out of sorts that it did 
not suit her Father to send her the next day. Little John is now standing by me 
with his face array'd in a most gracious Smile ; he says he longs, as we all do, to see 
his Mama, and Betsy likewise will be no unwelcome Guest. George has attended 
School [at Sevenoaks] every Day this week ; I miss him very much, he is so uniformly 
good. How providential that the children have all enjoy'd so good a state of health 
during the whole of your absence. I shd not have known what to do had they 
been ill. . ." 

The last of the Hastings letters is dated i8th September. The sea bathing had 
not been as beneficial as had been expected, but it was considered likely that the 
good effects would be felt after returning home. 

" , . . We propose leaving Hastings next Monday, & hope to be with you 
on Tuesday to dinner, at which happy meeting we promise ourselves not a little 
pleasure. I have had all the bottles packed, & our Trunk I shall direct to be left 
at River Hill, from whence William [their man] must fetch it. I shall continue 
my bathing till the day we go in the most regular manner. Mr. John George Children 
brought me a letter from my Sisters the other day with a ;^5 note Inclosed. & a 
particular history of the Concert. We shall sleep one night at Tunbridge. I think 
you was perfectly right in meeting the Bishop & Mrs. Porteous. We have called 


on Mrs, Noaille & she on us. The Bakers from Chiddinstone are likewise here who 
had before inform'd me of Miss Kent's accident for which I was very much concem'd. 
. . . Our friends here are so good as to express great concern at our Departure. 
Poor Mr. Evet dyed last Friday very suddenly, I should be glad if you would let 
our Friends at River Hill know. We propose calling on them on Tuesday morning 
and should be glad if Mary Ann [who had been at RiverhiU during her Mother's 
absence] wd be in readiness to return with us. We shall set out about half past 

7 as I wish to take a few fish to Tunbridge. If you like to order a chaise from Seven- 
oaks we shall set out at ten o'clock. The Rideouts have been so civil I must call at 
Courtlodge. We shall depend on your sending the Chaise to Tunbridge on Tuesday. 

George Humphry was the second son, born in December. 1784 ; he was at Cam- 
bridge in November, 1801, when he was only sixteen years old. He was placed 
at Jesus College, and recommended to the patronage of the Master by his Godfather, 
George Hardinge, the Queen's Attorney General and Chief Justice of the Brecon 
circuit, in a letter which is extant : — 

' ' My dear Sir & Friend. 

I have the courage to anticipate your thanks for promoting any favor of yours 
to me which it is in your power to confer, as I have recently experienced your kindest 
attentions & bestow'd in a manner which indicated that it gratified you to oblige 
& gratify me. At this place my excellent Mother has resided for several years with 
two of her Daughters, beloved & respected by all her Neighbours. Their pastor 
& friend is Mr. Humphry the Vicar of Seal, a very accomplished man, a good Scholar & 
a remarkably eloquent preacher, of the best principles & of the most exemplary hfe. 
He is the Father of some as promising Children as I ever knew. 

The second of the sons, George Humphry, was educated partly by his Father 
& partly by Mr. Whitehead of your College who keeps a very admirable School 
at Seven Oaks. He has just left that School & his Father, who is a very able Judge 
of literary attainments (tho' he may be of course partial to his own offspring) reports 
that he is an excellent scholar in Greek and Latin. I have had no personal oppor- 
tunity of appreciating, if I could, these acquisitions, & have only to say of this 
Young Man what none can deny, who see and converse with him, that he is. 
But this family who have seen more of him can further attest his goodness of heart 
and sweetness of temper. 

His Father has a very laudable ambition for himi (which the son participates) 
that he should not only be competent for the honor of being elected into a fellowship 
in that most respectable Society which has you for its head, but that he should be 
eminently distinguish'd as an academical Scholar. He is told that considerable 
stress being laid upon Mathematical science, for which in general Boys at Sevenoaks 
are not sufficiently put in train, it will be necessary for him to be a hard Student 

8 or 9 hours in the day for the purpose of acquiring ye knowledge in Philosophy 
that will ensure to him the object I have stated without prejudice in that Learning 
in which he is grounded. But I should hope that a good capacity, which I have 
no doubt that he inherits from both his parents, wll not require much intense 
application. Be that as it may (and of course temper'd as well as guided by the 
sense of the tutor) I recommend the Young Man's interest credit & fortune to your 
benevolent patronage & support. I have the honor to be, with high respect, my 
Dr Sir, your most gratefully affectionate Servant, 

George Hardinge." 

Thus recommended, his career, had he lived, might have fulfilled every expect- 
ation ; he was cut off in the prime of his youth, by a stroke brought on, it seems, 
by his too great exertions. His first letter that remains is dated from Cambridge. 
6th November, 1801, but is uninteresting and short. 


He writes on November 19th, 1801. 

" . . . We have twelve freshmen, viz. the Earl of Altamont. one fellow 
commoner, & ten pensioners, all of whom excepting three came to College before 
me. so that almost all the rooms were engaged previously to my arrival. Mr. Shep- 
herd, who was at the head of Eton School for nearly a twelve month, was the one 
who came immediately after me, & the cheapest rooms he could get were those 
which had at present an income of ten pounds upon them, & upon which he is obliged 
to expend thirty pounds before he can possibly enter them. I called on Denny 
AshbiuTiham a few days ago, & yesterday Mr. & Mrs. Whitear called upon me & 
I accompanied them to Mr. Otley's. but we did not find him at home. Mr. Whitear 
has behaved very obligingly to me, & was so kind as to say, that if ever I should 
find any difficulties either in Euclid or Algebra which I could not get over, he should 
be very glad to assist me. . . I am labouring hard to keep up with the young 
men who come out of the North in Mathematicks ; they come up having all Euclid 
and the greater part of Algebra at their fingers ends, so that it is with great difficulty 
that I can keep with them. They have left all from the South behind them except 
me, & I hope that with great assiduity I shall be able to do for them. I called on 
Mr, Walter this morning ; he was much better than he was, his gout being nearly 
cured in his feet, so that he was to day for the first time able to walk out, but his 
hand is stni very weak. John Woodward is coming next week to college to reside, 
I should suppose for the purpose of procuring a certificate for his scholarship ; but all 
the rooms in the college are engaged, so that I shall not see much of him. . ." 

His next letter is dated from Cambridge, 9th February, 1802 : — 
" Dear Father, 

I have the pleasure to inform you that I arrived at Cambridge yesterday, where 
I found J. Thompson ready to receive me ; he is remarkably well, but I think looks 
rather thinner than when I last saw him. He purposes returning home very shortly. 
I had a very pleasant journey to Town with Mr. Hardinge ; he was so obliging as 
to insist upon taking me to William's lodging's at Pimlico. When we were at the 
Inn waiting for Miss Hardinge, he wrote another letter to Dr. Pearce saying that 
a little civility would do no harm, & desired me to deliver it to him which I did 
last night. ... I have seen both Mr. Walter & Henry W.. they are quite 
well. Mr. Walter leaves Cambridge to-morrow." 

Ten days later he writes again : — 

" . . . On my arrival in Town I found my Uncle & William quite well. 
I went with J. Thompson on Tuesday & Wednesday Evening to Dnu-y Lane Theatre. 
. . . Mr. Petley does not intend to give up his office, but means to lay down 
his gig, & to attend regularly to his business for a twelvemonth, at the expiration 
of which time he will go to Paris, where Lord Whit worth [the Ambassador] has 
promis'd him a good situation. A very melancholy circumstance has lately happen'd 
here ; a young man of the name of James, whom I mentioned to you as being a 
particular friend of Streatfeild's, a short time ago broke a blood vessel, & last Monday 
week he died, & was buried on the Wednesday following in Jesus Chappie. The 
whole college attended his funeral. J. Thompson requests to be remembered to 
you, & he would be much obliged to you, if you should see his Father or his brother, 
to inform them he purposes writing in a few days. . . .On looking over the 
Cambridge Callender I find that Mr. James Walter {d) took the degree of eleventh 
Wrangler, which however at this time would not be more than nth Senior optime. 
I drank tea with Mr. Whithear yesterday, & stayed with him till nine, during which 

{d) For some account of this family, see note on* Humphry's friend Walter seems to have 

Uved at Seal, where Miss Walter was also living. Subsequently they lived at Brenchley, or 
Harden. In 1805, Sarah, daughter of WilHam Walter, Esq., of Jewell House, Brenchley, married 
Thomas Hooker of Brenchley. There seem to have been at least four sons : Stephen, John, 
James, and J. A. Walter. The Rev. Weaver Walter was at Penshurst in 1793. 
* See Reference Sheet. 



time he instructed me in Euclid & Algebra.. He informed me that Mr. D. Ashbum- 
ham had desired him to procure him apartments in the Town, as he & Mrs, Bancroft 
were coming to Camb. next Tuesday. . . ." 

John Thompson was a grandson of Thomas Thompson of Seal, and great 
nephew of Mrs. Woodgate of Mountfield. Denny Ashbumham married Mrs. 
Bancroft. George Humphry had taken Streatfeild's rooms, and with them the 
greater part of the furniture. The letter to Dr. Pearce had the desired effect. 

" Cambridge, March 26th, 1802. 

. . . Dr. Pearce sent for me a few days ago to inform me that he had 
received a letter from Mr. George Hardinge, in which he spoke very highly in 
my favour & told Dr. Pearce that he would esteem it a particular favour 
if he would serve me in any manner that might lie in his power ; which Dr. Pearce 
assured me he would, & desired me, when I next saw Mr. George Hardinge, to inform 
him that he had made a point of mentioning to me the receipt of his letter, & that he 
certainly would comply with his wishes ; & he added that had he heard nothing 
from Mr. Hardinge, he would certainly, from what he had heard from Mr. Whitehead, 
have done every thing in his power to serve me ; but you may depend upon it that 
that would not have been the case ; whereas now there is little doubt of my having 
some scolarship or other. I called on Mr. & Mrs. D. Ashbumham a few days since ; 
they were remarkably civil to me. & enquired particularly after all my Seal Friends. 
Mr. Whithear went to Town last Monday & is not yet returned. . . . Mr. Moore, 
T. Thompson & George Austen are coming at Easter to pay John Thompson a 

' ' Cambridge, April ye 13th, 1802. 
My dear Father, 

. . . Mr. Whithear went to Town yesterday, where he means to stay the 
whole vacation ; he will meet his Father in Cambridge, & he thought it very likely 
that he would accompany him back to Cambridge. Mr. Whitheeir went to Town 
about a month ago, at which time he was ordained a Deacon by the Bishop of Chiches- 
ter. ... I suppose you have heard that Streatfeild means to join the party 
which is shortly coming from Sevenoaks to Cambridge. John Thompson desires 
particularly to be remembered to you. The famous Sir Edward Hamilton is admitted 
a Nobleman of Emmanuel College, & dined the other day in our HaJl." 

About a week later he mentions that he had taken much exercise lately in 
walking round with Mr. Moore to visit all the colleges. He was much pleased with 
the civility of the Ashburnhams ; Mrs. Denny Ashbumham, he declared, was remark- 
ably good tempered. He writes on 7th May : — 

' ' John Thompson desires me to present his respects ; he went to Town last 
week with some of his fellow students to see the Illuminations, & he was so fortunate 
as to meet both his father & his brother. I drank tea last Monday with Mr. D. 
Ashbumham ; his brother William intends paying him a visit at Cambridge in the 
course of a fortnight. There is at present an election here, which occasions a great 
deal of riot & confusion. The Candidates are Lord Charles Somerset Manners 
& Sir Henry Peyton; it has already lasted three days. & there is a great probability 
that it will last some days longer, though Sir H. Peyton has greatly the advantage. 
I have seen a catalogue of the exhibitions ; your picture, which my uncle had painted 
by Mr. Spicer, & which he intends as a present for my mother, was in the exhibition. 

On the election day the gates were shut, to prevent the undergraduates from 
participating in the confusion. He writes in June : — 

" I saw Mr. D. Ashbumham this moming. & he desires particularly to be 
remembered to you & all my friends. He has taken a house near Windsor, for 
which place he & Mrs. Ashbumham set off to-morrow ; he went to look at the house 


which Lady Raddiffe formerly had. but found it far too large for his purpose. Mrs. 
Ashburnham dislikes Cambridge so much that she declares she will not accompany 
Mr. A. when he returns in October. Mr, W. Ashburnham left Cambridge about 
a fortnight since. Mr. Whithear also left Cambridge about the same time ; the 
reason of his leaving so soon was that he received a letter from his father, in which 
he said that he was very unwell. & that he should be very glad if he could come 
to Hastings «& do his duty for him. . . ." 

In September, 1802, it was found necessary for George Humphry to recruit 
his health at Hastings. His friend W. Whitear found some lodgings for him at 
Miss Button's, whence he writes on the i6th : — 

" On my arrival at Tunbridge I found all my Aunts [Woodgate] quite well ; 
they meant to have sent a parcel by me to Miss Ashburnham on Monday, but when 
they found that I was not arrived, they sent it by the coach. I saw my Uncle 
William [of Summerhill] at Tunbridge who informed me that my Aunt Woodgate 
was so ill as to be obliged to keep her bed ; he desired particularly to be remembered 
to all my family. . . . There is to be a grand ball at Hastings to-night, which 
Miss Ashburnham & all her Brothers will attend ; it is expected to be a very good 
one, as there is at present a great deal of company at Hastings. Mr. John Scoones 
has been staying for the last month at Miss Button's, but leaves Hastings I believe 
on Saturday*." 

He writes again on the 26th : — 

" . . . I am happy to say that bathing agrees with me perfectly well, as 
I think that I am much heartier than when I left Seal. I had the pleasure of seeing 
Miss Ashburnham & her brothers William & Denny at Hastings on Tuesday ; they 
were remarkably civil to me & invited me very particularly to come to Broomham ; 
but as they did not mention a conveyance, I think that to walk there & back again 
the same day is too great an undertaking for me at present. I have seen a great 
deal of George Ashburnham since I have been here ; we walk together constantly 
every day. He desires to be kindly remembered to all my family. I have met 
Mrs. Nouaille several times ; she is always very civil. & desired that I would call 
upon her, which I accordingly did. She said that she hoped when her Gentlemen 
returned that I would come & eat some mutton with her. I dined at Mr. Whithear 's 
with Mr. George Ashburnham last Thursday ; Mr. & Mrs. North were of the party. 
They all desired to be remembered to my friends when I next wrote. . . ." 

Elizabeth, the daughter of the Rev. William Whitear, Vicar of St, Clements 
and All Saints, Hastings, married in 1799 Mr, Francis Frederick North, of Rougham 
Hall and of Hastings Lodge. Their son, who was Member for Hastings, and his 
family are constantly mentioned in Chap. VL George Humphry returned to 
Cambridge, in renewed health, in October, whence he writes on ist November ; — 

" Mr. Weaver Walter left Cambridge on Saturday last : he purposed being at 
Seal on Thursday. I have seen a great deal of Harry Walter since I have been 
here, he appears to be remarkably good tempered. Dr. Pearce has made John 
Thompson the offer of a curacy near Newmarket, Mr. WoUaston the rector wishing 
to go abroad for three years. There is a very good house & garden, but Dr. Pearce 
said that he believed there could be but a small stipend. He has written to his 
father to know his pleasure before he gives the Doctor a decisive answer." 

That month the pain in his side, and his cough, returned. 

" My Uncle Humphry," he says, " has a most beautiful picture of you in 
Miniature, painted by Mr. Spicer from that painting of you which Mr. Spicer has 
in his possession, & he intends it as a present for my Mother ; it is much larger than 
that picture which she has of my Uncle. With respect to what you mentioned 
of Mr. G. Hardinge, I have observed no alteration whatever in the Dr's. Behaviour. 

* See Reference Sheet. 


In February, 1803, his cough evidently became very troublesome, though he 
does not enlarge upon it in his letters. He says : — 

' ' I received a letter from Mr. Hardinge on Sunday in which he desired me to 
go to Dr. Pearce & request him to procure a copy of some Latin Verses, which Mr. 
Hardinge wrote when at Cambridge, but which he has now lost, as he wishes to 
print some of his Latin Verses for the use of partial friends alone. Dr. Pearce 
desired me to defer answering his letter for about a week, by which time he hoped 
to be able to procure them. . . My Uncle called one day when I was in Town 
at Mr. Long's, & left a note to be forwarded to Mrs. P. Nouaille [formerly Anne 
Woodgate of Summerhill] ; he talks of advising Mr. P. Nouaille to employ a Mr. 
Singleton, an indigent friend of his, to paint him a cabinet of Miniatures. I have 
seen Mr. Denny Ashburnham who is quite well ; Mrs. Ashburnham purposes coming 
to Cambridge after Easter." 

Mr. Hardinge's verses, consisting of about a hundred lines, were duly copied 
by George Humphry and sent off. He mentions the intended visit of his uncle 
Ozias Humphry, on his way to Ely. He writes on 20th March : — 

' ' I have seen a great deal of Mr. D. Ashburnham lately, he desires to be kindly 
remembered to you whenever I write. He is going shortly to his house near Windsor, 
where Mr. W. Ashburnham & Miss Ashburnham are to make him a visit during 
the vacation. I was very sorry to hear that John Thompson had been so unfortunate 
as to lose the curacy of Otford. which I thought he seemed to have a very fair chance 
of obtaining." 

On the 25th March he states his cough to be rapidly improving ; but the report 
in his last letter is worse. 

" Cambridge, April 17th, 1803. 

I am sorry to say that, though I find myself getting gradually better every 
day, nevertheless being considerably reduced & weakened by my complaints I 
am unable at present to fix any time for returning home. My cough has likewise 
been lately very troublesome ; Dr. Davy was with me this morning ; he says that 
he will send me a plaister to be placed on my breast, which he has no doubt will 
greatly relieve it. He likewise means to make some alterations in my draughts 
which I continue to take in the same quantities as when I last wrote. It certainly 
would be the most agreable thing to me, & what my Drs highly approve of, to be 
taken home the same day in a Post chaise, as the chance of meeting with a damp bed 
is by far the most formidable part of my journey. Mr. Otter is not at present in 
College. It is rather unlucky that I am obliged to miss Mr. Caldwell's lectures in 
Longinus next term, as I think that I should have gained some little credit ; the 
other lectures are not of any great consequence. J. Thompson arrived at Cambridge 
yesterday, quite well. H. Walter is likewise quite well. Mr. Whithear left Cambridge 
a fortnight ago, I expect him to return every day. John Thompson desires to be 
kindly remembered & with my kindest love & remembrance to all my friends, believe 
me, dear Father, your most dutiful son 

G. U. Humphry." 

On 24th April, his brother writes from Seal : — 

" We were all of us very much grieved to hear so unfavourable an account 
of your Health. My Father intends going to town to morrow, and if he can get a 
place on Tuesday in the Telegraph you may expect to see him on that Day at the 
usual Time of the Coaches' arrival. It is his intention to return the next Morning 
and take you with him if you are well enough to undertake the journey, and travelling 
by easy stages he hopes you will reach Home on Thursday. My Father wishes you 
to collect the Bills before his arrival that he may settle them before he leaves 
Cambridge. I am happy to say, I have found great benefit from the Seal air [he 
had himself been very ill] and sincerely hope you will derive equal benefit from it. 
Your friend John Thompson will I dare say assist you in packing your things. 


We are all very well at Home and unite in kindest Love with, Dr George, your 
affectionate Brother 

W. 0. Humphry." 
George Humphry, of whom such great things had been expected, died on 
14th May, 1803. Dr. Pearce wrote a handsome letter on the occasion : — 

" Ely. June 2. 1803 
Dear Sir, 

Having been absent from Cambridge for the last month, I did not hear till 
a day or two ago of the melancholy termination of your Son's illness. I hope it 
will be some consolation to you that your Son has done his duty, & that his memory 
will be long regretted by all at Jesus College, as a young Man of vt?ry promising 
abilities and most excellent disposition. Our Society shewed their sense of his 
merit by electing him, not long ago, into the best Exhibition they have in their gift. 
This indeed will not remove your grief, but it will have the effect of soothing & softening 
it, by intermingling every agreable recollection which his early life was capable of 
suggesting. With every good wish for your comfort under this severe Loss, & with 
great esteem I am, dear Sir, your truly obedient & faithful Servant 

William Pearce." 

Mr. Hardinge's elegiacs over his godson are well worthy a place, though to 
some they may be unintelligible. 

Qui loquitur Pater est ; " Hoc nati cernite Marmor, 

*' Umbraque per vitam sit renovanda Fidem. 
" Cernite adumbratas virtules Fratris adempti 

" Nee Desiderii cedat inermis Amor. 
" Ing-enio dotatus, et artibus auctus honestis, 

" Doctrinae ingeniius Moribus erubruit. 
*' Ex humili officio nunquam defluxit amorem, 

" Nee placido in studiis deficit obsequio. 
" Non ilium affectus Animi sapuere jurentes 

" Non Amor illicebris, impulit, arma ferens. 
" Festinante viro ; — licet in juvenalibus armis 

" Purus aut Infantum, spiritus interiit." 

These lines have been translated by the author. 
A parent speaks : — ' My son's this marble view, 
And in your own, your Brother's life renew. 
With talents gifted and with arts improved, 
His blushes graced the Science that he loved. 
From Duty's path his genius never strayed, 
His temper blest the guides that he obeyed ; 
No turbulence of passion, foe to rest, 
Could stir the calm of his unsullied breast ; 
Though on the verge of Man, his parting breath 
He died in purity — an 'infant's death.'" 
" I threw some thoughts together," he says, "upon my ever beloved and 
lamented namesake ; accept them with your accustom'd indulgence to me. They 
are like himself, modest in their colouring & the characters of truth." 

That his death came as a surprise to the family, the following letter will show : — 

' ' Rect. of Exchequer, 16 of May, 1803. 
Dear Father, 

I reed this morning a letter from my Uncle Henry [Woodgate] informing me 
of the melancholy event of my poor Brother's death. I confess that it was as 


unexpected as it is afflicting to me, for I had no idea from what Betsy wrote that 
he was so near his end ; on the contrary, I entertained hopes that he was Hkely to 
recover, but as it has pleased Providence to order it otherwise it behoves us to submit 
with resignation to the divine will, & to indulge the pleasing consolation that from 
the uniform benevolence & piety of his Life he is removed from a world of trouble 
to a blessed state of immortality, & must live dear in the remembrance of us all to 
the end of our lives. My Uncle having mentioned that you desired to see me at 
Seal, I intend to come down to-morrow either by the Tunbridge Coach or the caravan. 
I have not yet informed my Uncle of the severe loss we have sustained, but am 
certain he will partake most sincerely of our grief. With best affections to my 
Mother, to my sisters & to John, I remain your dutiful son 

W. O. Humphry." 

On the South wall of Seal Church is the following inscription : — 

'In memory of 

George Upcot Humphry 

of Jesus College, Cambridge, second 

son of the 

Reverend William Humphry, Vicar of this parish 

and Elizabeth his wife. 

He was born Deer. loth, 1784 

and died May 14th, '803." 

William Humphry went to Cambridge to collect the effects, and brought home 
the linen, silver, private papers, &c. 

The correspondence is resumed some months later by Elizabeth Humphry in a 
letter to her mother, at Tunbridge : — 

' ' Seal, September ye 21, 1803. 
My dear Mama, 

My Papa had the pleasure of receiving your kind letter this morning, and it 
made us very happy to hear of your safe arrival at Tunbridge, and that you found 
tJl our Friends perfectly well. It. must have been extremely disagreeable meeting 
so many Hop waggons, and we think it a very good plan your returning on Sunday 
evening. . . . My Papa spent a very pleasant day at Lord Camden's yesterday ; 
their party was Mr. Willard, Mr. Kelson and an officer from Sevenoaks. My Papa 
there heard that Mr. Claridge has bought of Captain Boarder the reversion of the 
late Mr. Farmer's estate, for which he was to pay Captain Boarder an annuity for 
life ; and he likewise heard, which I was very happy to hear, that Lord Whitworth 
[who had married the Duchess of Dorset] had made it up between him and the 
gentlemen, and it is agreed that he is to be an officer in the Regiment. I hear 
Mr. Atkins is going out of Lord Camden's troop [of Yeomanry] and that he is to 
be ensign in Mr. M. Austen's Company. I dare say that you have heard from 
Major Woodgate [of Tunbridge Castle] that there is to be a review in Knole Park 
next Friday. ..." 

Lord Whitworth was the Lieut.-Colonel of the Sevenoaks Volunteer Infantry ; 
among the Captains were F. Motley Austen, Henry Woodgate of RiverhiU, and 
George Polhill, Lord Camden commanded the Kentish yeomanry. Lord Darnley 
was the Lieut.-Colonel, and WiUiam Woodgate was the Major. Charles Willard 
was Cornet in Lord Camden's troop. 

In 1804 and 1805 Mrs. Humphry and Mary Anne accompanied Mrs. Pratt to 
Sandgate, where they spent some weeks. Mrs. Pratt was a sister of Mrs. Hardinge, 
and an unmarried lady, the term Mrs. being a courtesy title. Mrs. Humphry's 
first letter from Sandgate is dated loth October, 1804. in which, referring to their 
drive to Dover, she writes to Julia : — 

" We spent a most charming Morning as the day was so fine, and the scene so 
new to us. I think yr Pappa has been at Dover ; the views are uncommonly grand. 


We walk'd on the Pier & admired the Shakespeare CHff ; we cd not get to see the 
inside of the Castle as they will not admit strangers at this time. The entrenchments 
they have thrown up are astonishing. Mrs. Pratt gave her whole party a most 
hospitable Dinner at one of the best Inns. & we retum'd home to tea in the afternoon, 
highly gratified with our day. Our party at present is rather thin as Mr. Martin 
returned to Hays last Saturday to do his Duty, but I believe he or Mr. Robenson 
are to come at the week's end. . . Mrs. Pratt is both in uncommon good health 
& looks, & rises every morning to Breakfast at nine o'clock. The weather is grown 
much colder but as yet we have had no fires ; this I dare say astonishes you but 
one seldom feels cold by the sea, & our bed room is full south. Mr. Martin's absence 
has a little derainged our whist party, as we are obliged to supply his place with a 
dumb, which is not quite agreeable to Mrs. Rush, & Mrs. Pratt will not associate with 
any one in the place. I fear I cannot fix the day for our return, but hope to be able 
in my next letter. We have never had the smallest fright on account of the Enemy, 
tho you read such frightful accounts in the paper ; was you to see the astonishing 
preparations all round the Coast, you wd think us safe enough in this quarter ; we 
are so surrounded by Military & the Soldiers wearing scarlet that a Black coat is 
quite rare amongst us. . . ." 

In 1805, when Elizabeth Humphry was also of the party, Mrs. Humphry 
writes : — 

" . . . Mrs. Pratt desires you will thank Brother Henry [Woodgate of 
Riverhill] for the Pheasants which arrived at the proper time, & at the same time 
inform him we drank his & his Family's health each day when we partook of his 
Liberality. General Moore [better known as Sir John Moore] & his Regiment 
have just received orders to leave Sandgate to morrow to join the Expedition ; 
his Aid-de-Camp Abercomby went a few days ago ; does our Nephew [John Wood- 
gate] join the Regiment on this occasion ? I am happy to hear Brother Henry 
is so well pleased with the General's behaviour. Mrs. Pratt with myself & Mary 
Ann called at Acrise on Wednesday ; Mrs. Papillon kindly insisted on Mary Ann's 
spending the day with her young people & she would send her to Folkestone the 
next Morning with her children who were going to bathe. She return'd the next 
morning highly delighted with her visit. Our next neighbour is a Mr. & Mrs. Saw- 
bridge, particular Friends of Mrs. General Moore's ; at present his brother & sister 
are with him, Miss Twisden that was." 

In 1806, Mary Anne alone of the Humphrys joined the party. Her mother 
writes to her, at Sandgate (13th September, 1806) : — 

" . . . The day you left us we were going to spend the day at River Hill 
where we met Sir Richard & Lady Hardinge, Mr. & Mrs. Biscow & their son & Mr. 
Whitehead ; we spent a very pleasant day, & the young people had a dance in the 
evening. We had some very excellent Fruit from the Mayes's Hot house. Betsy 
& myself have this morning taken a drive to Sevenoaks, on our return we called on 
Mrs. Nouaille. The House is in the greatest confusion & they are at this time painting 
the dining parloiur. Captn & Mrs. Thomas are returned with them ; she expressed 
great satisfaction that they are returned home. Your uncle is still with us ; he means 
to take his Departure next Friday. He with Julia & Fanny made Mrs. Round a 
visit last Monday. Mrs. Pelham with Sir Henry Strachan's Family made a visit 
to the Grove & took Miss Fanny [Hardinge, afterwards Mrs. Stephen Woodgate] 
home in the evening. Miss Scoones was married at Tunbridge yesterday ; Mrs. 
Nouaille said they were almost stunned with the ringing of the BeUs. . . ." 

There is a letter of Julia's a few days later : — 

" . . . We have walked to Seven Oaks several times lately and Paid a great 
many Visits. We call'd at Mr, Taylor's where we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. 
& Mrs. Ilbert who were come from Eltham to spend a Day with their Father. I 
think they seem much pleased with their House and Situation. I really think Mr. 


Taylor looks better than he did some time ago. The Miss Stiles have been staying 
with Mrs. Curteis for the last Month. . . We have had an Invitation from Sir 
Richard and Lady Hardinge. We all point upon spending a very agreeable Morning. 
The Players are very much approved off, and all the Families go very frequently 
to see them ; we have not yet been so fortunate as to have that pleasure, but we 
hope we shall go some Evening soon. . . ." 

The following year John Humphry died, aged 12. He had always been delicate, 
and suffered latterly from ague and other complaints. He rode out every niorning 
on a pony, but nothing was of any benefit to his health*. He was buried on 
13th March at Seal, where there is an inscription to his memory on the same tablet 
as that of his brother : — 

"Likewise of John the third son 
who was born April 30th,. 1794 
and died March 8th, 1807." 
In 1810, Ozias Humphry died. He writes in the previous year from the Prince 
of Wales Hotel, 7th January : — 

' ' Few things, my dear Mary Anne, could have afforded me more real pleasure 
than the receipt of your truly obliging & affectionate Letter, and altho' I never 
had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Henry Woodgate [of Spring Grove], yet never having 
heard her name mentioned but with much credit to her, I never can reflect upon her 
loss but with sorrow. It is however some consolation to know that you are to be 
more closely connected with the late Mrs. Hardinge's Family by the marriage 
of the amiable Miss Hardinge with your cousin Stephen [Woodgate]. Your 
acct of Lord Amherst's Ball interested me much, but the world can not well 
account for his Lordship's quitting England in a diplomatic capacity with so 
large a Family unless it be to add the pension to his other Income. I wish 
my Brother to be informed that the late Mr. Hare had the day before his sudden 
death completed a task of many years Labor, wch it is expected will do him great 
Honour. The Bishop of Durham and many other dignitaries of the Church recom- 
mend that it may be sold for the Benefit of his Widow, who is not over rich, and 
whose only son is serving with the Army in Spain — an uncommonly promising 
young officer who serv'd in Malta & Egypt with particular distinction. . . I 
will avail myself of Mr. Noaille's ... as soon as the weather is a little suitable. 
Pray let Mr. P. Noaille know that both Mr. Lawrence [afterwards Sir Thomas 
Lawrence] & Mr. Daniell are thankful for his kind Invitation. & will gladly accompany 
me into Kent in the Spring for two or three days, but I imagine not to shoot or hunt 
or fish, neither of them being a Sportsman, but will come to see Kent, wch is abund- 
antly interesting." 

That year Mr. Humphry evidently applied for some official post, as we learn 
from William's letter : — 

' ' Council Office. Whitehall, 
ist Feb., 1809. 
Dear Julia. 

. . . I have been greatly disappointed not to have heard any thing further 
on the subject of Lord Camden's Application in behalf of my Father, particularly 
since by a recent Appointment the Question depending must have been brought 
to an issue. I trust that should my Father be disappointed on the present occasion, 
he will receive a Promise to succeed on the first vacancy that occurs ; certainly a 
more than ordinary share of HI Fortune will attend him if he fails to get something, 
for there seems no Apprehension now that the Ministers will go out, Affairs in Spain 
having terminated so much better than at one Time could possibly have been expected. 
I really think our Army have performed Wonders, considering how critically they 

*See Reference Sheet. 


were situated ; I apprehended and it appeared to be the general opinion that the 
whole of them would have been lost. Great Credit is given to the Commanding 
officers for their Conduct and for their personal Gallantry in Action, at what hazard 
to themselves the Event has shewn, but to which Circumstance is chiefly attributed 
the safety of the Army. My Uncle called on me last Friday to get a Letter frank'd 
for Mr. Acton who had lately sent him a basket of Game, I am happy to say that 
he appeared remarkably well. I was so much pleased with your Letter that I hope 
you will let me hear from you often, as there is no Expence attending the Postage." 

In July, when Mary Anne was staying at Brighton with the James Wests,* 
her mother writes to her : — 

" . . . I am sorry to tell you that Miss Hardinge has been seriously ill 
with a sore throat this week, she is now better but does not recover so fast as one 
could wish ; Mrs. Pelham is with them at this time. Mr. Irwin was so good as to 
give your Pappa a Sermon this Morning. He is come to stay at Wilderness with 
ye younger Branches of the Family. Ld. & Lady Camden with Lady Frances came 
down last night, but retm-n to Town early on Monday morning. I fear the news 
is very bad indeed. I received a letter from your Uncle Humphry yesterday intim- 
ating that he intended coming to us this week for a few days, as he has some business 
to transact with the Dutchess & Ld. Whitworth. ... I hear all the Thomas' 
are soon going to either Hastings or Brighton. Mrs. Nouaille is to bring some of 
the Family to morrow to spend a week at Greatness " 

On 9th March, 18 10, Ozias Humphry died at the age of 67. and was interred 
in the burying ground attached to St. James' Chapel, Hampstead Road. He 
was generally considered the first miniature painter of the day ; for a more circum- 
stantial account of his life the reader is referred to the Gentlemen's Magazine of 
April. 1810. and to the Dictionary of National Biography. It does not seem that 
he left much property except some valuable pictures ; the bulk of these would appear 
by him to have been left to his kinsman. WiUiam Upcott. of the London Institution, 
a man very prominent in the world of books. Many of these were sold far, very 
far below their real value ; some were sold with Hoppner's collection, and others 
with those of Romney — who had accompanied Humphry to Italy. William Upcott 
writes on 21st May, 1800 : — 

" Mr. Christie. . . , judged it most prudent to defer the sale for a few 
days, when they will appear with Romney's Productions, which will be disposed 
of at the same time. This I consider a singular circumstance, after the close intimacy 
which subsisted between these two characters in early life, then a studied coolness 
on the part of Romney which lasted till death separated them, and at length that 
their Vcirious performances should be exposed for public sale at one and the same 
time, is a circumstance quite unlooked for, and in a small degree somewhat extra- 

Mr. Humphry possessed several paintings executed for the Duke of Dorset ; 
a few family paintings ; and amongst others some which at his death could not be 
discovered. We believe that there is at Knole a very good portrait of Humphry, 
painted by Romney. 

Whilst upon this subject, it is appropriate to mention that Upcott procured 
for himself considerable distinction, and died in 1846. There are several of his 
letters, the latest of which addressed to Mrs. Humphry, and dated April 28th, 1818. 
refers to some of his labours. In it he says : — 

' ' John Evelyn's Diary is out in 2 Vols 4to. which has cost me many a painful 
hour to transcribe & see in part thro' the Press, and I hear a very flattering account 
of its sale, in which I am very much interested ; the late Lady Evelyn generously 
granted me a share of the profits. My own trifling work on Topography is all sold 

* See Reference Sheet. 

off, never to be reprinted by me. Little more than literary fame was the issue 
of this production, but I have received several kind letters from Earl Spencer, Sir 
R. C. Hoare and others, expressive of their opinion of my undertaking. At present 
I shall desist from further attempts. My eyes have been so much tried that I find 
it absolutely necessary to give them rest, and turn my attention towards the com- 
pletion of my various hobbies which have been too long neglected." 

To return, however, to WUliam Humphry, whose next letter is dated from 
Whitehall. 8th June. 1800 :— 

" . . . I have not seen Mr. Upcot for some Days ; at that Time he did not 
know when the sale of my Uncle's Pictures would take place, Mr. Christie having 
so many other things in Hand which were brought to him before that he was obliged 
to dispose of first. This is a very unlucky circumstance as the Season is now getting 
advanced, and will I fear prove prejudicial to their Sale. The Dutchess has written 
to him to send the Miniatures back to her, that she might shew them to a Person 
for ascertaining their value ; what has happened since I have not heard. He talked 
of coming down for a Day or two, he does not know that I am prevented from leaving 
Town, for I have been so much occupied that I have not been able to go to him. 
For some Time I have been employed every Night till one or two in the Morning. 
I have heard that my Father did not succeed in selling his Farm, but bought it in 
for £2,075. Fanny I conclude is returned from visiting her Aunts. . ." 

Mr. Upcot made several visits to Seal. William's arduous duties gradually 
undermined his health, which appears to have been none of the strongest, and he 
died comparatively a young man. Mrs. Humphry's is the next letter, dated 30th 
June. 1800 : — 

" . . . Our Grove Friends are to drink tea with us this afternoon with 
Mrs. Sackville Austen [a sister of Mr. Multon Lambard]. We have heard that there 
is a match going on between Lady Frances Pratt & Ld. Clive, a son of Ld. Powis, 
a young man very well spoken of ; he has a fortune of near Thirty Thousand a year 
independent of his Father ; I think it appears very likely to take place. I shall be 
rejoiced to see Mrs. West to-morrow & hope she will bring one of her little Boys 
at least. Fanny is delighted at the thoughts of her Brighton excursion. I shoidd 
have asked Miss Fanny Hardinge to meet Mrs. West, but Mr. Bowdler's Family 
are coming to them to morrow. I hope some of the Riverhill Family will join our 
party. . . ." 

The last letter of Elizabeth Humphry (the daughter) is undated, but falls 
between 1810-12, and is addressed to her sister at Tunbridge : — 

" Seal, June i8th. 
My dear Fanny, 

I should have written to you some days ago. but I knew Mary [a servant] was 
going to Tunbridge to be confirmed, and I thought it would be a nice opportunity 
of sending you a Letter. . . . We begin to think you have made my Aunts a 
very sociable Visit, & we all depend upon your returning soon. We all point very 
much upon seeing my Aunts ; & I hope after Mrs. West's Christening, which if I 
am not mistaken is next Wednesday, they may fix an early day when we may have 
the pleasure of seeing them & you. The Mrs. Hardinge's were very much pleased 
with their little Excursion to Hastings ; they said Mrs. Nouaille was very well and 
able to exert herself more than anybody, but that she did not recover her looks at 
aU. We had but a very small party at Seal Fair ; the Mrs. Hardinges dined with 
us, & Mrs. Francis Woodgate [son of Henry of Riverhill] & Miss Maypleton came 
in the Evening. My Sisters and myself called on Lady Hardinge last Friday ; 
she received us with her usual good humour and shewed us all over her House, 
which has been new papered, and a great many beautiful Pictures put up since 
we were there in the Winter ; afterwards we walked in the gardens which are really 
delightful. Mrs. F. Woodgate's Sister Mrs. Willis is coming this Week to stay 


at Godden ; Francis has invited us to drink tea with them next Thursday to meet 
her. he is to send his Carriage for my Mother. I fear Mr. Spencer has forgot his 
annual present, as he has always sent it long before this. Mrs. & Miss Lambard 
& Miss Mallard [Mr. Lambard's niece] called upon us last week, the latter is come 
to stay in this neighbourhood a great part of the Summer. She and the three eldest 
Miss Lambards are going next week to Oxford, to be present at the Installation ; 
it must be particularly agreeable to Miss Hallard as she has two Brothers there. 
We have set out our Plants, except the Orange tree. & new poted them & I hope 
they look tolerably well. We have not been able to raise any of the choice cuttings 
Mrs. Woodgate gave you & Julia, I think it was too early in the year to plant them. 
We are very much disappointed that the Visitation [at Tunbridge School] is not 
held this year at Tunbridge, as we should have liked of all things to have made 
my Aunts a visit & brought you home. My Father begins mowing at Godden 
to morrow. . . ." 

In November, 1810. Mrs. Humphry met with a disagreeable accident ; when 
walking in Mrs. Nouaille's greenhouse, she sHpped and fell with so much violence 
that she dislocated her wrist and severely bruised her side, in consequence of which 
she was lame for many weeks. 

On ist June, 1811, Stephen Woodgate died at his house at Fawke, in Seal, 
after a lingering illness, aged 66. He was by profession a lawyer, and practised 
at Sevenoaks (e). He was a bachelor, and figures but slightly in the letters. In 
1794, when Volunteer corps were forming all over Kent and a county subscription 
was opened, he subscribed ;f2i. and with Mr. John Fellowes Claridge, Deputy Clerk 
of the Peace and Attorney at Law, was appointed to receive the subscriptions in 
the Sevenoaks neighbourhood. He was an officer in one of the Volunteer bodies ; 
for in 1799, after the great review of the Kentish Volunteers at the Mote by the 
King, a meeting was held to consider some public memorial to Lord Romney, and 
the preliminary notice signed by several of the officers, amongst whom was Stephen 

But one letter from his pen survives, addressed to Mrs. Humphry : — 
' ' My dear Madam, 

I am very much obhged by your Invitation for Friday and I trust you will 
excuse my waiting upon you ; I have not dined from home since I was with you 
but when I have been called out on Business. Mr. Humphry was talking to my 
Servant about some Knives and Forks ; pray let me know what you want and they 
shall be sent to you. Also, if you stand in need of any Fowls, I have some in the 
coop, which have been up some days and ready for slaughter, much at your service, 
and likewise Ducks. 

I hope Mr. H. and the Ladies are well ; pray make my Remembrances and 
beheve me to be, 

Dr. Madm., 

Very sincerely yours, 
Godden Green, Tuesday Morng. Stepn. Woodgate." 

Intelligence of his death was communicated to Juha Humphry and Stephen's 
sisters at Tonbridge by Mary Anne, in a letter dated from Seal the day after the 
event : — 

' ' After we reached home last night we learnt the melancholy intelligence 
of the death of our poor Uncle Stephen. We were in a great measure prepared 
for the event from the sad state he has been in for the last week. You wiU no doubt 
have heard the particulars of his death before you receive this letter. I hope my 

(e) Stephen Woodgate of Shire Lane was sworn and enrolled an Attorney of the Queen's Bench 

on 30th April, 1768, before Lord Mansfield. In 1781, Stephen Woodgate and WiUiam Norton 
(his clerk) attest the will of Mary Boakes of Chidingstone. 


Aunts are as well as can be expected after the great shock, it must be a great conso- 
lation to them that his last hours were so tranquil, & that he appear 'd to suffer so 
little pain. 

We have sent yom: mourning. As you desired to know what we intend doing 
on this occasion, I must inform you that Elizabeth purposes having a black sarcinet 
gown, Fanny & myself a fine black cambric muslin, & we would advise you to do 
the same ; we shall make them with an high & low Top for the sake of convenience." 

Mrs. Humphry adds a line on the fold : — 

" I am sure my dear Sisters we condole equally with each other's loss of our 
poor Brother. It was a great comfort to hear he went off in the easiest manner 
possible. I have not heard or seen any one from River Hill nor do we know when 
or where the Funeral is to take place. We shall hope for a line by the return of 
George to know how you aU do." 

We do not at present know what property Stephen Woodgate left nor what 
became of it ; his father had left to him Chested, Seedrups, Gildredge, Frinden, 
Tophill, and other lands in Chidingstone and Penshurst, besides which his uncle, 
Henry Woodgate of Summerhill, had left him a valuable legacy. 

The same letter that announced Stephen Woodgate's death contained intelligence 
of another : — 

' ' Poor Miss Loyd expired last Thursday ; she returned from Tunbridge Wells 
only two days previous to her decease. Her poor Mother, we understand, is almost 
heartbroken, as she had flattered herself to the last that her Daughter would have 
recovered. They applied to my Papa to have a vault made in Kempsing Church. 
Pray remember me to Mrs. West, we were much disappointed at not seeing her 
little girl at the window as we returned home [from Tunbridge]. If my Aunts 
have quite done with The Lady of the Lake perhaps they will have the goodness 
tosenditbackinyourhatbox, as they are all here very anxious to read it. . . ." 

The same writer resumes the pen three weeks later : — 
' ' My dear Julia, 

We were in great hopes before this that we should have had a conveyance for 
sending you a letter, but as no such offer arrives I shall not longer defer writing to 
you. Our Cousins at River Hill called upon us last Friday, they told us what a 
pleasant Day they had spent with my Aunts, & that they were to dine at River HiU 
the latter end of this week ; next week we hope to have the pleasure of their Company 
for they must- consider that the Summer is spending very fast & that the longest 
Day is already gone by. Our Haymaking at Godding was completed last Saturday, 
it was all carried in the best order & finished just before the rain came ; I think so 
far we have been particularly fortunate. 

My sisters have been staying at the Vine for the last week ; Fanny went the first 
part of the week and Elizabeth the latter end. Lady Hardinge is uncommonly 
well and they spent their time in the most agreable manner. I dined there on 
Saturday ; the Mrs. Hardinges carried me, but first we made a great many visits 
& among the rest called upon a Mrs. Lockhart (a lady who has taken the Cottage 
Mrs. Cumberland formerly had at Vessel's Green for her Summer Residence). Miss 
Otway is to leave her present Habitation at Riverhead to Day, she is going into 
that of the late Mrs. Blencowe's at Sevenoaks. Lady Russel has taken her House 
for three months after which it is said Sir Charles & Lady Farnaby are to have it. 
We hear that Mr. George Austen & Miss Hunse [?] are certainly to make a match 
of it ; possibly there may be no foundation for this & that it is only an old Report again 
revived. Mrs. Papillon & some of her Daughters, with Mr. & Mrs. Thursby & their 
Family, are coming to the Grove to Day to spend a week. We are to drink tea 
there to-morrow. We have called upon Mrs. Nouaille several times lately ; I am 
sorry to say she does not improve much in health, she thinks her complaint inter- 


mitting ; her Friends wish her very much to have further advise. Sir Richard 
Hardinge has some Idea of parting with his House on the Vine. He has offered the 
Lease to Mr. Lambard but he has refused it ; Miss Coddrington has appHed for it, 
but it is not thought she will take it as she is always in search of a House & can 
never meet with one quite agreable to her wishes. I think they wiU be a great loss 
to the neighbourhood as they have certainly contributed to enliven it very much. 
Sir Richd. is undoubtedly a very whimsical man & never is satisfied with a House 
for any length of time. You remember Miss King who was formerly so much with 
Lady Hardinge. she is to be married to a Clergyman & settled in Ireland. . . ." 

Sir Richard Hardinge removed from Sevenoaks to Sundridge. His original 
home was in Ireland. He was for two years (1810-12) a Captain in the Sevenoaks 
Militia ; and an original member of the Kentish Bowmen. He seems to have par- 
ticipated in the various amusements and business of the neighbourhood. 

In 181 1 some correspondence passed with the Rev. W. Tucker of Honiton, 
one of Mr. Humphry's earliest friends, over a gravestone which the latter desired 
should be erected to the memory of his mother. Ozias Humphry declared that 
he intended some lasting memorial of his parents by presenting some good specimens 
of art in the chancel of the church. For that purpose he intended leaving a thousand 
pounds. He had already obtained designs from his friend James Wyatt, Surveyor 
General to the Board of Works ; but the scheme fell through. The less ambitious 
project was successfully carried out. 

Meanwhile, in March of 1812, Sarah Woodgate of Tonbridge died. From 
that time one of the Humphrys was almost constantly with their aunt Rose Woodgate, 
who lived till 1827. Soon after the death, Mary Anne Humphry writes from 
Tonbridge, in April : — 
" My dear JuHa, 

I received your kind letter Tuesday Afternoon, which was left here by Sir 
Richd. Hardinge's Servant. I understand Mr. Nouaille was prevented coming 
to Tunbridge on Monday by the Illness of his Coachman, which accounts for my not 
receiving my mourning on that Day. ... I suppose you have heard of the 
intended Gala at the Powder Mills on Saturday ; tickets have been sent round to 
the whole neighbourhood to invite them to inspect the works & partake of a cold 
Collation. If the Weather is fine, I am to accompany the Thomas's. Mr. Burton 
has sold Bowden to a Gentleman of the name of Morrison, formerly of Dr. Knox's 
School. We hear they are likely to prove a great Acquisition to the neighbourhood. 
Miss Harvey tells me that Mr. Bayley is Brother to the Subdean of Lincoln ; 
he is said to be advanced in Life & very infirm. Mr. Nouaille has purchased Captn. 
Thomas' House, & I believe it is settled that the Family remain at Tunbridge. 
Mrs. West is much better ; she intended having a large Party last night, but was 
obliged to postpone it from the Death of Mr. Matthews, who died on Monday last ; 
for some days previous to his Decease he had been extremely iU with an Inflamation 
added to his other Complaints. I hope Mr. Rush retum'd from Westerham on Sunday 
soon enough to take the service in the afternoon. I understand Mr. Benson is very 

much admired as a Preacher at the WeUs I called at Quarry Hill last 

Saturday with Mrs. & the Miss Thomas. Mrs. George Whitaker call'd upon my Aunt 
last Week ; she mentioned that Mrs. & Miss Whitaker were soon expected from Bath. . " 

The next letter, from Frances Humphry, refers to the engagement of Henry 
Woodgate of Spring Grove, to Clare Harvey ; it is dated from Seal, 25th September, 

" . . . We were quite surprised to hear of Henry Woodgate's match. We 
think it a very good one in every respect but the too great disparity of their years. 
What little I have seen of my cousin elect I like extremely. We are happy to hear 
my Aunt Rose is coming to Riverhill next week, when we shall hope to have the 
Pleasure of seeing her. The Mrs. Hardinges with Mrs. Pelham, Mrs. S. [Sackville] 


Austen & Miss Papillon (who have been staying a few days at the Grove) drank tea 
with us last Tuesday ; Mrs. Juha is now confined with a complete fit of the Gout, 
Mrs. S. Woodgate has left them in suspence for a great while. Sir R. & Lady Hardinge 
are gone into Norfolk to make Mr. Stracey a visit ; what charming Weather for all the 
Travellers. Mrs. Peters and her eldest Son call'd here this Morning ; she says they 
have been very little at Brasted this Summer but are now come to reside there till 
the latter end of March. She enquired after you & desired her love to you. Mr. 
Lambard's Family are going next week to Hastings ; poor Miss Otway is extremely 
unwell with the jaundice. Mrs. J. Woodgate still looks very poorly. The Arch 
Bishop of Canterbury is coming into this Neighbourhood on a visit to Lord Frederick 
Campbell. I do not hear that the Time is fix'd for the Prince Regent's Visit to Knole. 
The Marchioness of Camden & her Daughters call'd here yesterday, but as we were 
at Dinner they said they would call again in the course of a few days. The carpet 
& rug arrived last night ; the Carpet is very handsome but I cannot say that I admire 
the Rug. . . ." 

' ' Seal, December 15th, 1812. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . The Day after I wrote to you, we received an Invitation to Mrs. Lam- 
bard's Ball, which we accepted, & in the Evening we had a note from the Duchess 
inviting us to a Dance for the same Night. My Father call'd at Knole yesterday, 
when the Duchess told him she hoped to prevail with Mrs. Lambard to change her 
Day, as she cannot put off her Ball as she expects a great Deal of Company from 
Town & several of the Ministers for the Occasion. We have likewise received 
an Invitation from Lady Camden for a Dance on the 30th Inst. Now under these 
circumstances perhaps my Aunt Rose will have the goodness to allow me to postpone 
my Visit for ten Days or a fortnight as I am sorry to say poor Elizabeth is not well 
enough to partake of these Festivities. But if my Aunt has the smallest objection 
to be left alone for so short a time, I will with pleasure keep to my Appointment. . . . 

Mr. Irving took my Father's Duty at Kempsing last Sunday. My Mother & 
Fanny are to dine at Wildernesse on Thursday ; my Father you know does not 
venture from home of an Evening. We understand they expect a large Party at 
Xmas, among whom are the Duke & Duchess of Montrose & three Daughters, Ld. 
& Ly. Castleraigh, Ld. Londonderry & three Lady Stuarts. Sir Richd & Lady 
Hardinge set off for Bath last Sunday. He has had the Gout flying about him for 
some time & is in Hopes that Bath waters may give him a regiilar fit. Poor Lady 
Hardinge seem'd rather reluctant at leaving the Vine during this gay season. Mama 
& Fanny are to drink tea at the Grove this Eveng with Mrs. Nouaille ; Miss Rideout 
comes to Greatness on Wednesday " 

The visit was postponed on account of the balls. The invitations of the Duchess 
were not so general as in the previous year ; but Mrs. Lambard postponed her ball 
till the 4th January, and the Duchess invited all who were to have attended it. 
Julia returned the following week to be present on the occasion ; she was conveyed 
home by Mr. Nouaille, who had gone to Tonbridge on the affairs of the Bank. Mr. 
NouaiUe was one of Mr. Children's trustees, and J. H.West one of William Woodgate's. 
The next letter, dated from Tunbridge, ist February, 1813, refers to the Bank : — 

" My dear Julia, 

, . . Mr. West is still very much occupied by the Failure of the Bank, & 
from living on the spot the greatest share of settling it seems to fall upon him. Mr. 
J. G. Childrens continues to issue his notes, but I believe they do not obtain a very 
extensive circulation. We drank tea with the Thomas's last Friday & met Miss 
Harvey & Mrs. Hammond (who is staying with them). Captn Thomas still remains 
in a state of suspence with regard to his House, not having made any Agreement 
for the Purchase of it. We hear that Miss Clare Harvey's Wedding is to take Place 
early in the month of March. The Family are going to Town this Week to make 

the necessary Preparations. Mr. T. Knox has been returned to Tunbridge for some 
Days. He performed no Part of the Duty of yesterdaj^ either in the TMorng or 
Eveng. My Aunt Rose is very much in want of some Winter work & will be obliged 
to Mama to send her the Directions &c for knitting the Nightcaps. Mrs. S. Woodgate 
has just been here, she tells me that her Aunts went from Pembury last Saturday 
to Southpark to spend a few days with Mrs. Allnutt. . . ." 

' ' Wednesday Eveng, Septr., 1813. 
My dear Fanny, 

We have this Morning received a Basket of Peaches from Wildernesse, & imag- 
ining a Part of them, with some of our own, will not be unacceptable to my Aunt & 
yourself, my Father intends sending Thomas to Tunbridge to-morrow as the Bearer 
of them. Julia was much obliged for your kind letter ; we were happy to find the 
Concert proved so agreable. I think you kept up the weeks amusement with great 
spirit. Mr. Hutchens gave great satisfaction here, & I understand from Mr. [Charles] 
Hardinge was equally approved at Tonbridge. His sermon was very much liked, & 
his delivery thought extremely pleasing. Mr. Lambard and all his Family attended. 
W'e had few others of the considerable People from Sevenoaks, & were surprised 
that not any of the River Hill Family stay'd. Mr. Polhill sent a Donation of two 
Pounds & regretted extremely he was prevented attending himself. The Collection 
amounted to 22/ 7s. Mr. Hutchens & Mr. Stevens dined with us, & we had in 
addition the two Mrs. Hardinges, Mr. & Mrs. Nouaille, & Mr. Rush. We all thought 
Mr. Hutchen a most agreable Man, & I assure you both Himself & Mr. Stephens 
seem'd much pleased with the reception they had met with. My Mother & Elizabeth 
paid a Wedding Visit to Mrs. Lane last Friday, when Mrs. Francis Woodgate was so 
obliging to give them a Cast [i.e. a seat in her carriage] ; they afterwards called 
upon Mrs. Lambard &c. Mrs. Randolf has taken Miss Otway's House at River 
Head for six months. John Thompson call'd here this Morning. He inform'd us 
Mr. Van Mildart is appointed Regius Professor of Divinity at Christ Church, Oxford, 
which, with the Preferment attach'd to it, amounts to more than 3000 per Annum. 
He is allowed to retain both his Livings. It was given him in the handsomest 
manner by Lord Liverpool & came quite unsolicited. 

Mr. Rush has declined Mrs. Loyd's House, & intends waiting for one here, the 
Situation being so infinitely more desirable. He has lately purchased six Houses 
in London rented at 30^ a year. Julia & myself spent a very pleasant day at the 
Grove on Saturday ; we were invited to meet Miss Julia Lambard who has been 
spending a few Days there lately. We hear Mr. Henry Hatsel has gone to Portugal, 
I believe he left England at the commencement of Summer. Mr. Charles Petley 
call'd yesterday; he has heard Mr. Wilgress at Chevening & thinks him as a Preacher 
equal, if not superior, to Dr. Andrews. We were much surprised the other morning 
at receiving a Visit from Mrs. & Miss Atkins, who are come to spend a fortnight 
with Mrs. Rouchelle. They made many enquiries after Miss Frances, & were much 
disappointed at not having the Pleasure of seeing her. Your account of Col. Austen 
having made Proposals of Marriage to Anne Woodgate [of RiverhiU, afterwards 
Mrs. Richard Streatfeild] had not reached us before. We have mentioned it to 
Mrs. Francis [Woodgate] who seem'd to think it very improbable. ... I 
quite forgot to tell you poor Mrs. Papillon has lost her youngest Child, a fine Boy of 
ten months old, who died of water in the Head & was very ill twenty four Hours. 
Since your Departure Mr. Whitehead has discontinued his Visits here of a Sunday, 
therefore I leave you to determine what was his attraction." 

Col. Thomas Austen of Kippington, who was Member for West Kent, was the 
second son of Francis Motley Austen of Kippington, Sevenoaks, and nephew of the 
Rev. Sackville Austen, who married Anne Lambarde. Mrs. Randolph was Mrs. 
S. Austen's sister, and her husband was formerly the Bishop of London. Their 
brother, Multon Lambarde, miarried the daughter of Francis Otway, once a tenant 


of Riverhill. The Rev. John Austen, Rector of Chevening. another son of F. M. 
Austen, married Miss Lane of Bradborne. 

In 1813, WilHam Ozias Humphry took a somewhat extraordinary step. He 
married a Miss Nevvcombe, and afterwards informed his family of the fact. That 
their feehngs were hurt is evident. The affair is best explained by the letter of 
William himself. 

" No. 12, Gt. Smith St., Westminster, 
4th of Octr, 1813. 
Dear Father, 

I fear that you must have supposed that something was going on wrong in 
consequence of my long Silence, and particularly after the kind and affectionate 
Letters I received from my Sisters Maryanne and EHzabeth. You will be surprised 
to hear that I am married without submitting the matter for your Approbation 
first, which I do not think you would under all the Circumstances of my Situation 
have greatly disapproved, but restrained by motives of false DeHcacy I omitted 
from Time to Time the opportunity which I greatly lament, and for which I humbly 
entreat your Forgiveness. You will of course expect me to give some account of 
the Person with whom I have formed so intimate a Relation. I have then to acquaint 
you that she is the Daughter of an Officer in the Navy of the Name of Newcombe ; 
she is about twenty years of Age, very pleasing in her Person, truly virtuous, very 
amiable in her Disposition, and prepossessing in her Manners. I have known her 
exactly three years from the present Time, and have from the first meditated the 
Connexion now subsisting between us. I am afraid you will accuse me as deficient 
in Candour by concealing a circumstance so interesting to my own Welfare and in 
which my Family cannot but feel alive, but I am conscious that I have brought 
no Disgrace on them, and I am certain that my Sisters will be much pleased with 
their Sister in Law when they become acquainted, and I shall find I have a great 
Load off my mind when I find that you are not so far dissatisfied as to renounce 
all Intercourse with me for ever. If I should obtain your Forgiveness, it shall be 
my constant Endeavour to fulfil in every Respect and with Credit the various 
Relations in Life expected from me and which I have hitherto too much disregarded, 
particularly towards two most excellent Parents and such kind and affectionate 
Sisters. My Wife's Uncle is a Post Captn in the Royal Navy, and commands the 
" Wanderer" Frigate, and her Grand Father is a Clergyman of Exeter in some 
office about the Cathedral ; she has no immediate Property but is not without hand- 
some Expectations. I assure you she has the worst of the Bargain, for she is a young 
Lady generally admired, & I certainly know that she has refused offers more flattering 
in Preference to me. I hope that one of my Sisters will write by return of Post. 
I am sorry that I have not replaced the Twenty Pounds I borrowed in May, but 
will on rect of my next quarter's Salary. I have not been at the Office since Monday 
but stay away with Lord Chetwynd's Permission. My Wife is extremely uneasy 
as well as myself for the part I have acted towards you, which was wholly contrary 
to her wishes. I again express my hope that you will not withhold your Benediction 
from me on this Occasion, and my Wife begs to unite in sending her Duty to you 
& my Mother & kindest affections to my Sisters, & I remain by hoping that I shall 
be a more Dutiful son in future 

W. 0. Humphry." 

Upon further acquaintance, Mrs. Wm. Humphry proved fully equal to the 
description given of her. Both she and Capt. Newcombe stayed at Seal on different 
occasions, and were an agreeable addition to the family. The next letter contains 
some further particulars of her. 

' ' Seal, February 15th, 1814. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . My Brother & Mrs. W. Humphry are still with us. I know you are 
very anxious to hear some Particulars of our new Sister. I shall say nothing respecting 


her person, as Mr. Rush brought us a most accurate Account ; but what is of infinitely- 
greater Consequence, she appears very amiable & well disposed & perfectly good 
tempered. She informs us she was educated at Montague House, Chelsea, since 
which she has resided with her Mother, tho' she has spent a good deal of Time 
occasionally with her Uncle Captain Newcombe, who she represents as having been 
extremely kind to her. Her Father died at a very early period leaving herself 8c 
one Sister, after which her Mother married Captn Jackson, by whom she has one 
Daughter & three Sons, all of whom are in the Navy. William is looking remarkably 
well & appears to be in very good spirits, & I am happy to add they appear to be 
very much attach'd to each other. They have been received with the greatest 
kindness & civility by all our Friends here, & Lord Camden on Sunday requested 
my Brother to introduce him to his Lady. 

The Mrs. Hardinges, Mr. & Mrs. Nouaille, Mr. Francis Woodgate (who dined 
with us) &c drank Tea here on Friday, & the following Evening we spent at the 
Grove. Mr. & Mrs. S. Woodgate and all their Family are expected at the Grove 
to Day, & I believe are to stay till Saturday week. Mrs. Nouaille went yesterday 
to Stone Wall to visit her Brother John who has been very ill lately. She seem'd 
on Sunday very uneasy at his Illness. We hear it is in agitation at Sevenoaks 
to build two Chapels, one at Riverhead & the other on Sen'noke Wild ; Lord Amherst 
& Mr. Lambard have taken the whole Expense of erecting the Former on themselves. 
Mr. Veet dined with us yesterday, he told us no particular news. Sir John & Lady 
Twysden have left Bradborne for three years & have taken a small House at Ashford 
where they are now living. I imagine Mr. Rush will soon bring his Lady home, 
as the Improvements in the House are nearly completed ; he talks of going to Town 
next week for a few Days. Lady Camden & Lady E. Pratt call'd here last Saturday, 
when Lady Elizabeth gave us a pound for the Penny Society. Mrs. William 
[Humphry] is very fond of musick & plays & sings very agreably. . . ." 

" Seal, Monday Morng, May 2nd [1814]. 
My dear Julia, 

The Mrs. Hardinge's visiting Pembury to Day enables me to send you a letter 
& likewise to thank you for the letter I received by Mrs. Nouaille. Mrs. Nouaille 

seemed very well pleased with her excursion to Rochester Fanny attended 

a very gay Rout at Mrs. Sackville Austen's last Tuesday ; the Company were as 
numerous as at Mrs. T. Austen's & tho' the House is so small were accomodated 
without the least Inconvenience ; there were four Rooms open for their Reception 
& seven Card tables. The Evening passed of very agreably. Mrs. Whitaker spent 
two Days with us last week ; I fear their Circumstances are very much reduced, as 
Mr. Whitaker is obliged to sell his House at Pembury immediately. The Sisters 
have not yet determined where they shaU fix their future abode. Mr. Henry Walter 
is going with his Pupil Lord Weymouth to make a Tour through the West of England 
for two or three Months, unless Peace may have made any Alteration in their Arrange- 
ments. Mrs. Baker's House here is certainly to be let, your Friend Mrs. Hemble 
has applied for it. Mr. Whitehead has taken Mrs. S. Austen's house on the Vine 
& is to have Possession of it at Michaelmas. Mrs. Nouaille is to have a large Party 
to stay with her this week & amongst the number Judge Grose, his Daughter & 
Sister. Our Greenhouse is looking beautiful. . . ." 

In June, Mrs. Humphry and two of her daughters spent a few days with Mr. 
Baker in London. Three crowned heads were at that time in town, and Mr. Baker's 
house commanded an excellent view of the procession to the Guild Hall. That 
month Sir Henry Hardinge returned to England, covered with distinction which 
he had gained under the Duke of Wellington. He was received at the Grove by 
many of his relations. The event is touched upon by Mary Anne Humphry, in a 
letter dated the 15th June, 1814 : — 

" . . . On Monday we spent a very pleasant Day at Godding ; Mrs. C. 
Hardinge, Richard, Caroline, & Mrs. T. Ponton comprised the Party. Mrs. J. 


[Julia] Hardinge has been staying a week with Sir Richd & Lady Hardinge [in 
London] ; she had frequent opportunities of viewing the great Potentates, & on 
Saturday attended the opera, when her Party were fortunate enough to obtain a 
Box immediately opposite to the Royal Party. She returned on Wednesday 
accompanied by her nephew Col. Hardinge, whose Arrival was announced by the 
Ringing of Bells &c. He call'd here yesterday, looking remarkably well & quite 
recover'd from the Hardships he has undergone. Mr. Hardinge & a large family 
Party are now assembled at the Grove to welcome his Return. They dine to-day 
at the Vicarage, & Mr. & Mrs. S. Woodgate are to meet them. . . ." 

' ' Thursday Morning, December 22nd, 1814. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . The Party at Mrs. William Scoones's was put off on Friday & is to take 
place this Even'g. Edward Scoones is ordered immediately to America, & I under- 
stand his Brother Henry is expected at Tunbridge daily. I went with Mrs. West to 
Pembury on Tuesday ; we sat an hour & an half with Mrs. Henry Woodgate & after- 
wards call'd at the Vicarage. Mr. Henry Woodgate is one of the Stewards for the 
Ball here on Wednesday & he requested me to tell you he hoped Fanny & yourself 
would contrive to come to it, as he should bring two Beaus who would have great 
Pleasure in dancing with you. The new Bride Mrs. William Austen has sent a 
Wedding Cake to Summer Hill, requesting it might be distributed amongst the 
Relations & particular Friends of her Family, & accordingly my Aunt received a 
Piece on Monday Eveng. Mr. Knox is gone to Town to spend the Xmas. Mr. 
Thompson perform'd the whole Duty on Sunday Eveng. He takes his final 
Departure from Tunbridge the End of this week & is going to London, where it is 
said he has obtained an Appointment. Mr. Ashburnham call'd upon my Aunt 
Tuesday morning ; Sir William Ashburnham leaves the Wells the beginning of next 
month, & has taken a House in Town. His Family seem to consider him in a very 
precarious state, having lately been seized with another fit. Miss Harvey had a 
Party of fourteen at her House last night at which my Aunt & myself were present. 
We hear Mrs. Bailey intends to dispose of the Castle, provided he can sell it for 
nine thousand pounds, and Harman & Tate are mentioned as likely to become the 
Purchasers. No Tydings of a Cook have yet reached us tho' we have made every 
possible Enquiry, but I should hope you would soon hear of one in your Neighs 
bourhood " 

In 1815 Elizabeth Humphry, the daughter, died ; there is an inscription to hei 
memory beneath that to her brother George : — 

" Also of Elizabeth their eldest daughter, 

Who was born January i8th, 1782, 

And died June 5th, 1815." 

The only letter of 1815 (dated 6th November) indicates that Mr. Humphry', 
health was becoming less robust ; any exertion, like attending a tithe meeting 
easily rendered him indisposed. Mary Anne Humphry writes : — 
' ' My dear Julia, 

Mr. Nouaille informed us yesterday he intended going to Tunbridge to-morrow, 
& should be happy to accomodate you with a cast Home. We should have given 
you earlier intimation of this, but we understood Mr. Nouaille did not mean to attend 
the next meeting. ... I think you wanted a few more Beaux to enliven your 
Party at the Christening ; Mrs. Julia Hardinge gave us a Bill of Fare of the Dinner, 
there are not many Vicars I should suppose who could afford to give such an enter- 
tainment. Mrs. Stephen Woodgate & all her Family are coming to the Grove on 
Wednesday. Mr. & Mrs. Rush dined with us yesterday. . . ." 

The Christening party appears to have been in Stephen Woodgate's family 
at Pembury. In June, 1816, Mr. Humphry's general weakness''al armed his family. 


Under medical advice, he confined his diet chiefly to animal food, abstaining from 
all fruit and vegetables, but without much effect. The letter continues:— 

' ' Mr. J. Ponton is staying at Godden ; he called here yesterday. We are quite 
of my Aunt's opinion that he is a very agreeable Man. . , . My Mother & 
myself accompanied my Father to Sevenoaks this morning ; upon our return we 
met Mr. Stanhope & his friend Mr. Hawley, who staid here till five o'clock. Mrs. 
F. Woodgate is in want of an under nurse ; if you should hear of one likely to suit 
her, will you send her to Godden " 

Mary Anne Humphry's letter of 26th June shews that her Father's condition 
was viewed with serious apprehension. Writing from Tonbridge, she describes 
the appearance at church of Mrs. Charles Hardinge, after the wedding on the 13th. 
She was the second daughter of Kenneth Callender of Craigforth. 

" The Bride & Bridegroom made their appearance at Church on Sunday with 
Sir Richd. & Lady Hardinge & Miss Callender, who was generally taken for the 
Bride. My Aunt paid her wedding visit yesterday ; we were much pleased with 
Mrs. Hardinge who is rather handsome & extremely pleasing in her manners. Mr. 
Hardinge seems in excellent spirits & from the appearance of his Lady we really 
think he has at length been fortunate in his choice. Mr. Knox preached a very good 
sermon on Sunday for the benefit of the Sunday School ; a Collection was afterwards 
made at the Church doors which amounted to more than twenty pounds. It was 
badly conducted in this respect as the Congregation were not apprized of his Intention, 
& many that would have been contributors were not prepared for the occasion. 
We understand that Mr. Gordon & Miss Jervais were to be married yesterday at 
Shipbourne & that Mr. Knox was to perform the ceremony. Mrs. West on Monday 
brought me an invitation from Mrs. Alnutt to dine at South Park to meet the bride 
& a large party, who were to attend afterwards the Leigh Chricketing, but as the 
weather is changible I thought it more prudent to decline, & not having quite lost 
the Headache I have lately had. . . ." 

Mr. Richard Baker, who had spent part of June at Seal, wrote in the most 
pressing fashion, desiring Mr. Humphry to consult some London specialist and stay 
with him as long as he could, for that purpose. His next letter was written on 
hearing of his friend's death. He died on the 13th July, 1816, aged 73, and w£is 
buried at Seal six days later. 

The intelligence was communicated to Rose Woodgate in a letter from Henry 
Woodgate of Riverhill. 

" Riverhill, July 13th, 1816. 
Dear Sister, 

It is with infinite Concern I inform you that our worthy Friend & Brother 
Mr. Humphry is no more. He died this Morning about half past five & was perfectly 
sensible almost to the last, but suffered greatly for a few Hours before the awful 
Change took place. His Family & Mr. Richards [the Doctor] were up the whole 
Night with him. Poor Man, he had been rapidly sinking for several weeks past, 
but his Death was more sudden than any of us expected. I have been to Seal this 
Morning. Mrs. Humphry and her Daughters are in the greatest affliction as you 
may suppose, but I hope time & Reflection will alleviate their Sufferings & Distress. 
I shall go over often & offer my Services on this mournful occasion, as I shall be 
anxious to afford them every Assistance & Consolation in my power. 

Mrs. Humphry will thank Mrs. James West to acquaint her Father & Brothers 
of this sad Event. Willm has not been down (which I am very sorry for) but He 
is to attend the Funeral. John [Woodgate] is gone to Ireland ; the order was so 
sudden that he had not time to take leave of us. Believe me ever, with our united 

Yoiu: most afft Brother 
;? 1^^ Henry Woodgate." 


William Humphry's letter is as follows : — 

' ' Council Office, Whitehall, 15th of July, 1816. 
My dear Sister [Frances], 

I received your Letter this Morning communicating the mournful Intelligence 
of my dear and excellent Father's Decease. The short Letter I had previously received 
from Julia prepared me in some Measure for the fatal Event, but the dreadful 
Certainty of so irreparable a Loss has filled me with Feelings of Sorrow I can at 
present but ill express. The Intimation of the Wish you have signified for me to 
attend at the Funeral is I am convinced perfectly right, and no Respect I can shew 
to the Memory of so good a Parent and so worthy a Man, in all the Relations of 
Life, can be too great ; but I really am apprehensive that I do not possess sufficent 
strength either of Body or Mind to bear up against so trying a Scene, the Possibility 
of which I have contemplated during my whole Life with a kind of superstitious 
Awe, and the withdrawing from which might be imputed to a Want of proper Feeling, 
or being actuated by worse Motives, which if you could read by my Heart you would 
discover was not the case. What you mention as to my Father's kindness towards 
me overpowers me with Gratitude and affords me the Greatest Consolation, and I 
will endeavour, in every Action of m5>^ Life, to do as if his eyes were fixed upon me. 
I unfortunately fell early in Life into a wrong Course, and never had Firmness to 
extricate myself out of it, and I can assure you that I never made those Applications 
that occasioned him so much Displeasmre except under the Pressure of the last 
Necessity and to avoid worse Consequences. I am happy to think that I have 
succeeded in bettering and extricating my Affairs which it would have been some 
Consolation to him to have known. I am grieved to think that the last Moments 
of his Life were passed in so much Pain, but as you have so sensibly observed the 
Loss falls wholly upon us ; he, good Man, is doubtless in a State of Felicity, the 
just Reward of a pure and unspotted Life. Let this event open our eyes and admonish 
us as he exhorted on a former melancholy occasion I well remember, to strengthen 
the Ties of Affection towards each other, to forget all past Differences, to live happily 
with each other, and to do good as far as we are severally able. I hardly know 
what I have written, from the frequent Interruption I have experienced and from 
the Grief which almost overpowers me, but I will try to compose my Mind and 
reconcile myself to your Wishes ; and with kindest Remembrance and Condolence 
to my afflicted Mother and to my Sisters Julia and Mary Anne I remain 

Your ever affectionate Brother 
W. O. Humphry. 
My Wife and Boys are I am happy to say quite well. I will not neglect the 
insertion in the Papers." 

So far from being able to attend the funeral, William Humphry was unable 
to leave the house for several days ; and on his recovery, owing to pressure of business 
and other matters, was unable to visit Seal until September. 

Near the South porch of Seal Church is a marble tablet, surmounted by the 
arms of Humphry (/) and Upcott quarterly, impaling those of Woodgate ; below 
is the inscription : — 

•'To the memory 

of The Rev. William Humphry, M.A., 

45 years Vicar of this parish and Vicar of Birling 

in the County of Kent, 

who departed this life 13th July, i8i6, 

aged 73 years. 

Faithful in the performance of his ministerial functions 

as a Christian Priest, 

Exemplary in the discharge of all the relative duties, 

and pious to his God, 

He guided others in the path to Eternal life, 

and led the way." 

(/) The arms of Humphry were " ermine, four pallets sable." 


By his will, dated soth January, 1812, Mr. Humphry devised his house at Seal, 
three cottages at Seal and two cottages and eight acres of land at Godden Green, 
Seal, two cottages and a small farm known as " Noah's Ark" at Kemsing, and 
all other his real estate for his wife for her life, and after her decease upon trust 
for sale, proceeds to be divided between his four daughters, to each of whom he 
gave in addition £500 in the Three Per Cents, He gave £2,000, secured on lands 
of Thomas Francis Goringe of Burwash, to William Ozias ; but by a codicil dated 
i8th October, 1814, executed after his son's marriage, revoked the bequest and 
gave it instead to Peter Nouaille and Henry Woodgate of Riverhill as Trustees to 
pay the interest to his wife for her life, then to his son for his life, then to his son's 
wife for her life, and then to divide the amount equally between his son's children 
at 21. All the household effects were left to Mrs. Humphry, and the residue to Henry 
Woodgate of Riverhill, the Trustee, upon the same trusts as the realty. The will 
was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury by Mrs. Humphry the Executrix, 
on i6th August, 1816. 

Mr. Humphry was succeeded in the Vicarage of Kempsing cum Seal by the 
Rev. Gervas Whitehead, M.A., domestic chaplain to the Duchess of Dorset (the 
patroness), and senior Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. Mr. Humphry's death 
caused his family no change of abode, for the house they occupied at Seal was not the 
Vicarage but their own. 

The next letter, from Mary Anne Humphry at Tunbridge, in 1816, contained 
the important news that Summerhill was to be sold*. She goes on to say : — 

" Doctor Knox preach'd again on Sunday & gave us an admirable discourse 
of near an hour long. After Church we call'd upon Miss Knox, who assured us 
Mr. Sconce was perfectly recovered from the effects of his accident. Fanny has 
certainly made a great Impression upon the Doctor, which his travels have not 
obliterated ; he requested when next I wrote to send his kind Regards to her. Mr. 
& Mrs. T. Scoones have left Tunbridge, & Miss Julia Scoones has accompanied 
them with the Intention of staying a Twelvemonth. The next card Assembly on 
Friday is expected to be a very good one, as all the young people have agreed to attend 
& make up a round Table. We have had several visitors this morning which will 
apologise for the haste I have written this in." 

The only letter in 1817 is from Mary Anne Humphry : — 

' ' Seal, April 15th, 1817. 
My dear Julia, 

I send you a few lines by Miss Callender who is going to-morrow to spend a 
fortnight with Mrs. Charles Flardinge ; little George and William Woodgate [sons 
of Stephen] accompany her, as the Mrs. Hardinges intend going to Town on Thursday 
where they have taken lodgings for a month. Caroline was prevented by indis- 
position from attending the ball last night & has been confined for the last ten days 
with a bad cough attended with fever ; the loss of a ball at her age is really a dis- 
appointment, especially as she had been engaged for some time to dance with the 
Hon. Mr. Cust, brother to Lord Brownlow, & a very genteel pleasant young man. 

(Wednesday morning.) I had written thus far last night when Mrs. Nouaille 
call'd & carried me to drink tea at the Grove. The BaU on Monday was very well 
attended, & altho many families of the neighbourhood were absent there was an 
hundred and eleven in number, a large proportion of whom were strangers. . . . 
Lord Camden's family came to Wilderness last week with Mr. & Lady Emily James. 
The former [Mr. James] continues in a very precarious state of health, & his physician 
who never leaves him entertains little hopes of his recovery. Lady Emily from anxiety 
of mind is so much altered that scarce any vestige remains of her former beauty. 

* See Reference Sheet. 


You have probably before this heard of Mr. Whitehead's good fortune. As 
fellow of his College, a living called Stanley Regis in the finest part of Gloucester 
has lately fallen to him. It is double the value of this with an excellent house & 
glebe of eighty acres attached to it. He has not yet determined whether he accepts 
it & went this week to visit it. If he takes the living he vacates Seal immediately, 
but I think he will be unwilling to quit his friends & connections here, altho so 
desirable a piece of preferment. We shall be gratified on Sunday with hearing 
John Thompson who takes his duty during his absence. We all dined at the Grove 
on Thursday & met Sir Richd & Lady Hardinge ; Sir Richd has some intention 
of taking Col. Austen's house at Sundridge, in which case he relinquishes his design 
of going abroad this j^ear. . . . Our visiting with Mr. & Mrs. Irving has hitherto 
been confined to frequent calls, but we intend asking them to dinner next week 
with the River Hill family." 

Mr. James was son of Sir Walter James of Langley Hall, Berks., who married 
Lord Camden's sister. Lady Emily James, his wife, was daughter of the Marquis 
of Londonderry, and sister of Viscount Castlereagh. He was engaged in the cam- 
paigns of 1813 and 1814, and distinguished himself so much as to have received 
the thanks of the Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia, as well as some distin- 
guished military orders of those sovereigns. On the cessation of hostilities he was 
appointed Secretary of Legation at Munich and Secretary of the Embassy at the 
Hague ; but in consequence of ill health returned to England in 1816, and died 
at Dublin in March, 1818, in the twenty-fifth year of his age. His widow re-married 
in 1821 Sir Henry Hardinge. 

In 1818 Julia Humphry spent a very pleasant time with her cousin, Francis 
Woodgate of Godden ; Mr. Woodgate and his family had taken 2, Gloucester Place, 

" Seal, February 5th, 1818. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . We were sorry to learn Mrs. Francis Woodgate was prevented by the 
indisposition of little Henry from joining the party at Miss Milward's ; however we 
hope he is now quite recovered. My Mother is much gratified by the enquiries 
made after her by her friends at Hastings & wishes to know if you have yet had an 
opportunity of seeing Miss Cosswin. The news of Mrs. Tilden's death gave her 
great concern ; but from the suffering state she has long been in, it may perhaps 
be considered a happy release. Mrs. Nouaille is rejoiced to hear her young patient 
is going on so well. . . . The Mrs. Hardinges went to Tunbridge on Friday 
and returned on Tuesday. John Woodgate [of Stonewall] has lately been spending 
three weeks at the Vicarage at Pembury & is now at Spring Grove. Mr. & Mrs. 
Foster have also been passing a week with Mr. & Mrs. S. Woodgate & are coming 
to the Grove for a few days. We heard from Fanny yesterday ; perhaps (as she 
may write to you) it is not fair to tell of Tunbridge news, but I must inform you 
that Mr. Carnell has made proposals of marriage to Miss Laura Scoones & it is 
supposed the fair one will not be cruel. I hope, if Mr. & Mrs. Francis Woodgate 
wish it, that Major Budyer will acceed to their terms ; we only regret that the House 
is not situated in our neighbourhood. Mrs. Cobb has agreed with Mrs. Otway to 
take her house at Riverhead from ladyday, & Mr. John Cobb (it is said) has hired 
Bradborne. . . ." 

Julia Humphry was invited to prolong her stay at Hastings, and returned 
with the Woodgates to Sevenoaks, after a delightful visit. 

' ' Seal, Feby 19th, 1818. 
My dear JuHa, 

. , . The accounts of Mrs. Knox are more favourable, & her friends now 
entertain every hope of her going on well. What a dreadful event the suicide of Sir 
Richard Croft ! Surely it was most unfortunate he did relinquish his profession on 
the death of the lamented princess. Fanny drank tea at the Grove last night, & 


there heard of an approaching wedding between Miss Bisco & Mr. Tritton, son of 
the banker, & at present curate of Tatersfield ; it is an union intirely approved by 
the ladies' family. 

The intelligence I sent you of Bradborne & Mrs, Otway's house was not correct, 
as the Cobb family have declined taking them & Mrs. Otway (by the advice of her 
friends) has decided on remaining herself at Riverhead. We called upon Mrs. Irving 
on Tuesday. Next week her Mother & sisters are going to town, to be present 
at the festivities given in Honour of Lord Temple's coming of age, & which are 
expected to be very splendid. Poor Miss Claridge has had the typhus fever to a most 
alarming degree, & last week went to Hastings in so weak a state as to be conveyed 
down in a litter. Mr. Wilmot at the request of her Father attended her there. 
Mrs. Lawrence has been appointed Schoolmistress & is to enter upon her ofhce on 
Monday next. This fine morning tempted us to walk to Sevenoaks, where we 
called upon Mrs. Luxford & Mrs. Wilgress. Mrs. Nouaille desires you to tell Mrs. 
Woodgate what pleasure it gives her to learn that little Francis is so well recovered. 

To this period must be referred two undated letters ; the first is a short one from 
Mrs. Humplury, and mentions the birth of her grand-daughter Juliana. The second, 
from Miss Humphry at Tonbridge, is in reply to the former, which was brought 
by Henry Woodgate. It was conveyed to Seal by the Rev. Edward G. Smith on 
his way to Greatness. She says : — 

" . . . . Mrs. James West has promised to take me to the Wells some 
morning after we have had a shower, to call upon my old friend Major Wood. James 
received a long letter from his uncle a few days ago in which he mentions that his 
brother Denny is studying very hard for Orders & hopes to be ordained in October. 
Mr. Harte came to Mabledown the beginning of the week ; I believe now all the 
houses in the Neighbourhood are occupied. I find immediately upon my arrival at 
Tonbridge a certain Gentleman renewed his visits to Mr. West upon the old subject*. 
We have seen Mrs. Knox & Maria several times. Mr. Knox hired an open carriage 
to take his family to Brighton, & as the term for which he engaged it is not expired, 
they now frequently drive out in it. Dr. Knox is expected at Tonbridge soon, 
& likewise Mr. Sconce & his family " 

Another letter, dated 7th February, 18 19, and written by Miss Humphry, 
describes one of the Sevenoaks balls. 
' * My dear Julia, 

. . . As I think you will have a little curiosity to hear an account of the 
Ball, I will endeavour to satisfy it as well as I am able. Mrs. Julia Hardinge was so 
kind to chaprone us, with her Niece & Miss Harriet Papillon. It was much more 
numerously attended than usual at this season of the year, the company amounting 
to near a hundred. Sir Richard Hardinge exerted himself very much to make a 
good Ball & brought a large party from Town for the occasion, consisting of three 
young ladies, Miss Ellis (a sister of Mrs. Heaton's), Miss Prade & Miss Stracey, & 
two very smart Beaus, Mr. Heaton & Mr. Stony, in addition to which two Officers 
of the Guards came to the Crown by the invitation of Miss Stracey. Altho there 
was a larger proportion of Beaus than was expected, yet the number of belles greatly 
preponderated, consequently every dance there was many a disappointed fair without 
a partner. Ld. Camden & his two youngest daughters & Ld. & Ly. Amherst with 
Lady Harriet Windsor were present. There were several very pretty young Women, 
but Susan Allnutt was considered decidedly the belle of the evening ; she looked 
particularly well, & all those who had not seen her before were much struck with 
her beauty. The new Stewards were very active & thought to acquit themselves 
extremely well. The following night we spent a delightful evening at the Grove & 

* See Reference Sheet. 

met Sir Richd. & Lady Hardinge & all their Party. Miss Prade amused the company 
with a little very fine musick, & the other young ladies contributed very agreeable 
& humourous singing. I really do not know when I have met more agreeable young 
women. Miss Stracey is extremely lively & I should think more than a little ol a 

Caroline Hardinge appears highly delighted with her visit to the Metropolis ; 
she partook of a variety of amusements, but nothing seemed to afford her so much 
gratification as going over St. Paul's Cathedral. She has brought several presents 
from town. Mr. & Mrs. Allnutt, Susan & Miss Sidney are coming to the Grove 
to-morrow week for a few days. Lady Camden & Lady G. Pratt called yesterday, 
they do not go to Town till next month. = . . Sarah Woodgate was prevented 
accompanying her Brother & Sister by a cold. . . ." 

The next letter refers to a long day spent by the James Wests at Seal. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . Our little friend William [Humphry, their nephew] has not forgot 
the impression made on him by Alicia, & his first question the next morning was, 
' When Miss Alicia would come again ; for I should like to see her again. Aunt JuHa.' 
You will I think be surprized to hear that Mr. Whitehead has sent us an Invitation 
to dine upon venison on Tuesday next. I heartily wish you could partake of it, 
as such an event may not happen again. The family at River Hill are also asked — 
as well as Mr. & Mrs. Nouaille, but they (I believe) have declined as their sons go to 
Brentford [to school] on that day. My Uncle, Anne, & Sarah, with John, and 
William Woodgate (who is staying at River Hill) dined with us yesterday & Mr. 
Whitehead. We had a fine neck of venison which our guests seemed to enjoy ex- 
tremely. The Mrs. Hardinges favoured us with their company in the evening. 
We talked over our intended visit on Tuesday & have determined to be as merry 
as possible. Anne regrets m.uch j^ou will not be present & thought an express should 
have been sent off for the occasion. My Mother has received a letter from Mr. 
Gorringe of Burwish, requesting permission to transfer her mortgage to his sister, 
who is about to purchase the land and to whom he is indebted for a considerable 
sum. As my Uncle is of opinion that the money will be equally secure & nothing 
is more advantageous than a mortgage, my Mother means to comply with his request. 
Our servant John gave warning about a week since ; he has offered to Mrs. Cade, 
but she declines taking him, not having been used to the care of plate & china. 
We have not yet hired a boy, altho' many have allready offered. Perhaps you may 
hear of one likely to suit the place. 

Sir Henry Hardinge has been staying at Sundridge for the last week. I fear 
Sir Richard will not be well enough to be present at the christening to-morrow. 
I hear Mr. & Mrs. Charles Hardinge intend to draw a line & only to ask relations; 
however I hope you will be invited in the evening, & gratified by again meeting 
your old friend Sir Henry. My Aunt Rose will be sorry to learn that, in a letter 
from Mr. Acton to my Uncle, he mentions that Mrs. Clayton [Cleaton] has lately 
had a paraletic attack. I do not hear that he is coming into the south. Has my 
Aunt yet settled with her Servants ? I suppose that Richard will wish for promotion; 
as Susan is so valuable a servant I hope she will remain stationary. . . ." 

' ' Wednesday Eveng, Nov. 24th, 1819. 
' ' My dear Fanny, 

. . . The Miss Allnutts came to us on Thursday and left us yesterday ; 
they were so very accomodating & good tempered that we derived the greatest 
pleasure from their society. The Mrs. Hardinges dined with us on Friday, & our 
Friends at Greatness joined the Party in the Eveng. We invited the Riverhill 
Family but unfortunately they were engaged to dine with Mr. & Mrs. G. Austen 
on that day. On Saturday we walked to Sevenoaks & call'd on Mrs. Charles Petley, 
and afterwards dined at the Grove. We had many momg visitors, among the rest 


the Lady Pratts, the Miss Woodgates & Mr. & Mrs. C. Petley. The Miss Allnutts 
have made up very pretty morning dresses, not unhke yours of last year, & we 
were very glad they were so much seen. Fanny Allnutt gave us much Information 
respecting the Fashions, and with great good humour assisted me in mantua making. 
Miss Sydney & Maria [Allnutt] came up in the carriage yesterday & spent two hours 
with us. I believe Miss Sydney leaves South-Park in February, when she is to be 
introduced in the fashionable world. I will thank you not to mention this at present. 
Mr. Smith took the whole Duty at Seal last Sunday, & it is thought he went through 
the service with much credit to himself, & was highly flattered by Ld. Camden saying 
he had not heard the Duty better performed for a long time. We dined at Greatness 
yesterday to meet our old friends Mr. & Mrs. Rush. Mrs. Parsons has been staying 
there for some time ; her spirits appear improved by change of scene and the kind 
attentions of Mrs. Nouaille. 

Mrs. Sackville Austen has been very unwell with a Carbuncle on her neck & 
suffers much in consequence. You have probably heard of the death of Mrs. 
Hallard's eldest son, who was found dead in his Bed very unexpectedly ; he had 
been in an indifferent state of health for some time [Mrs. Hallward was a Miss 
Lambarde and sister of Mrs. Sackville Austen]. We were very glad to see Mrs. 
Rush & regret that her stay is so short ; they spend two days with Mrs. C. Hardinge 
on their return. The Mrs. Hardinges had a good account of the children at Pembury 
on Sunday, they are recovered from the fever ; as soon as the Infection is over Mr. 
& Mrs. S. Woodgate are to make their annual visit at the Grove. Major Woodgate 
[William Woodgate of Summerhill] remains in this part of the country till after 
Xmas ; Anna came from Brighton last week to give her Father a meeting. We 
think Fanny Allnutt's manner of doing her hair would be particularly becoming to 
you & I would recommend you to adopt it, as we hear hows are going out of fashion. 
The Allnutts are to attend a county Ball at Maidstone next Tuesday when new 
ball Rooms are to be opened. Lord Clifton & Sir Thomas Browne are Stewards 
on the occasion, . . ." 

The following is the reply : — 

' ' Tunbridge, Novr. 28th, 1819. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . I am very glad to hear you derived so much pleasure from the Miss 
Allnutts' company, & I hear they express themselves equally pleased with their visit 
to Seal ; Fanny came to the Postern on Thursday, since which the weather has been 
so indifferent that I have not seen her. Mr. Luxford has lately had a considerable 
addition to his fortune by the death of Mrs. Hooper of Hailsham, who was his God- 
mother ; we hear she has left him the great Tythes of the parish where she resided, 
which amount to four hundred a year, & ten thousand pounds in money. My Aunt 
says my Mother must remember her Brother, who formerly frequently preached 
at Mountfield. Major & Mrs. Wood have lately spent a few days at the Postern, 
I think her a very pleasant unaffected woman. Mr. West's Carriage on Friday 
se'nnight conveyed a party of six to drink tea there during their visit, in which 
number I was included ; a few Gentlemen dined there & we spent a very pleasant 
evening. Miss Spark, Fanny Woodgate's Governess, is a very pretty agreeable 
young woman, with one of the finest complexions I ever saw. I dined with Mrs. 
Charles Hardinge the week before last with Major Woodgate, Stephen, & Mr. John 
Scoones ; the Major retains his enthusiastic fondness for musick, & I never saw him 
in better spirits, which do not appear forced but quite natural. Mr. James West 
went to Tudely Church last Sunday to hear an old School fellow (the son of Dr. 
Stephens) perform the service ; he is a pupil of Kemble's & considered a very fine 
preacher, but I should not think theatrical action quite adapted to the pulpit. I 
believe I mentioned that Wise intended leaving Tonbridge ; we now find he has an 
execution in his house, & is indebted to Government two thousand pound?/ for 
stamps. The South Park party go to the ball on Tuesday from the Postern, & 

Mr. & Mrs. West have some idea of accompanying them. Tell Maryanne her friend 
Miss E. Carnell is going to-morrow to Gunsberry house to make her Aunt [Mrs. 
Morrison] a visit till Christmas. I am much obliged by yr hint respecting Dressing 
the hair, which I shall endeavour to adopt ; I understand you have metamorphosed 
your head & that it is considered a great improvement. Mr. Knox preached this 
morning & gave a most excellent advent Sermon. Mr. Luxford had yesterday a 
juvenile party at dinner consisting of the head class at Mr. Knox's, James and William 
West & a few other favourites," 

A postscript written the next day adds : — 

". . . Mrs. Allnutt & Mrs. West called this morning ; Mrs. West is prevented 
attending the ball by slight indisposition, which I regret very much, as she said had 
she gone she should have requested me to accompany her, & although I am indifferent 
to dancing I must own I should have been much gratified to have witnessed so gay an 
assemblage. If the weather is propitious I am to walk over to the Postern to-morrow 
to hear a full & circumstantial account of the Ball from the young ladies, I called 
upon Mrs. Charles Hardinge this morng ; she tells me Miss Caroline is your visitor 
during her Aunt's absence in Town. I am sure her company affords you all 

Meanwhile William Humphry's family were growing up. The latest addition, 
Julia, was " as lively as a little bird " and the two sons went every day to school ; 
William made good progress, but Richard, who at that time had not attained his 
fourth year, was not resigned to his fate. Two weeks later Mary Anne Humphry 
writes : — 

" Seal, Sunday, Deer. 12th, 1819. 
My dear Fanny, 

. , . Caroline spent the interval of her Aunts' absence with us. They 
found Sir Richard & Lady Hardinge in better health, but they seem unhappy in 
regard to Frederick Hardinge, fearing his complaint has a tendency to consumption. 
Sir Richd. with his usual kindness has sent for him to Town, that he may receive 
the first advice. We are told the children at Pembury are much improved by 
change of air ; they came up a party of twelve & remain at the Grove till Thursday 
sen'night, when Mr. & Mrs. Hardinge with Sir Henry are to succeed them for the 
Xmas Hollidays. Perhaps it would have been more prudent if Mrs. Stephen Woodgate 
had deferred her visit till after Christmas, when all idea of infection would 
have been removed. I am sure you rejoice in the good fortune of our friend John 
Thompson ; what a happy circumstance his connection with Sir Thomas Dyke, who 
has proved a real friend. He entered the church with little prospect of preferment 
& is now in possession of from 7 to 8 hundred a year. He favoured us with a visit 
on Thursday, I wish you had been present ; he was in such high feather & elated 
with success. He hoped Miss Fanny was quite well & desired to be par-ti-cu-lar-ly 
remember 'd to her whenever we wrote. Miss Barton called here a few days ago ; 
she spoke highly of the new Curate who gives general satisfaction ; she kindly invited 
us to come to Sevenoaks church & sit with her to hear him perform the duty & 
afterwards lunch at her house. . , .' 

In January was the New Year's Ball which indirectly proved so fatal to the 
Allnutts*. After her description of it, Mary Anne Humphry adds : — 

' ' We have seen a great deal of Mrs. Charles Hardinge since her visit at the 
Grove. We spent a day at the Grove last week. I grieve to say Mrs. Julia Hardinge 
still suffers much from the gout which detains her a prisoner, & Mrs. Carohne has 
ventured out very little this Xmas. Mr. & Mrs. Charies Hardinge, Caroline & 
Frederick dined with us yesterday with the party at Greatness & Mr. Whitehead. 
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Petley called on us last week." 

See Reference Sheet. 

" Tonbridge, Febry, 15th, 1820. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . My Aunt has had an Advertisement put in the Maidstone paper this 
week that her Farm is to be let, in consequence of which she may expect applications 
for it very soon ; & it has to-day been intimated to her that she will probably soon 
receive the offer of a compromise for the money owing to her by the Major, but 
which I will thank you not to mention at present. The Miss Woodgates spent a 
part of the morning here on Wednesday, on which day the King was Proclaimed. 
The Ladies of the place assembled in the Town Hall to witness the Procession, which 
was a very respectable one considering it was only fixed the night before ; had the 
notice been longer, many of the neighbouring gentry would have attended. Divine 
service is to be performed here to-morrow when Mr. Knox is to preach, Mr. Hardinge 
having already given us a Funeral Sermon. . . . 

A meeting of the Ladies & some of the Tradespeople took place yesterday at 
the Vicarage to arrange a plan for regularly visiting the Girls School (which at 
Mrs. Hardinge's request I attended), when a Committee was formed consisting 
of more than twenty who have engaged to visit 2 at a time a week ; the numbers 
being so considerable will make it very easy to every one, as it will only come to 
their turn officialy once in about three months ; but I should think all the young 
Ladies who have not family arrangements to attend to would like an opportunity 
of being useful, & be disposed to repeat their visits more frequently. I have been 
this morning with the Miss Carnells & Miss Jewhurst, the latter of whom is very 
clever & useful on the occasion, & I shall hope to gain some useful hints for the 
management of our own School. . . Frances Humphry." 

" Seal, February 20th, 1820. 
My dear Fanny, 

Julia desires me to thank you for your kind letter, since the receipt of which 
we have had the pleasure of hearing from Mrs. Stephen Woodgate that my Aunt 
and all my friends at Tunbridge were quite well. I am sorry to inform you poor 
Mrs. Julia Hardinge continues a great invalid ; she has been confined to her bed 
with a severe return of gout since Tuesday. , . Cciroline returns from Town 
to-morrow ; Mrs. Stephen Woodgate has proved an excellent nurse during her 
absence & by her care & attention has contributed much to the comfort of both 
her aunts. Sir Henry Hardinge has offered himself to represent the City of Durham 
(I know not whether assisted by Lord Stewart's interest) ; he is not sure of success, 
having a powerful opponent to contend against. He is gone to Durham to forward 
this object as much as possible. The proclaiming of the present King took place 
at Sevenoaks yesterday week. The concourse of people assembled to display their 
loyalty was very great & most of the carriages in the neighbourhood followed in 
procession Music was wanting to enliven the ceremony and which from some 
mistake had not been provided ; I understand in this respect it was conducted much 
better at Tunbridge. Mr. John Dudlow [of Town Mailing] read the proclamation. 
I went with Mrs. Nouaille ; Lady Camden & her Daughters in a carriage & four 
attended, & Lord & Lady Stanhope, & Lord & Lady Amherst with their servants 
in new mourning as Lord of the Bedchamber to the late King. The Magistrates 
and some of the gentlemen around dined at Kippington [Mr. Austen's]. 

Mr. Whitehead has lately lost another nephew, Charles Whitehead, with the 
same complaint that so many of his family have died of. He went to his funeral 
on Wednesday, the day when our late revered sovereign was interred, when Mr. 
Henry Kelson performed the service at Seal. I must tell you rather a laughable 
circumstance. Lady Camden & the young ladies have long wish'd for an oppor- 
tunity of hearing Mr. Donald of whom a very favourable report has reach'd them, 
but partly out of delicacy to Mr. Whitehead forebore to gratify their curiosity. How- 
ever on Wednesday, hearing of his absence, they determined to go, when lo ! Mr. 
Curteis who has not taken the duty for some time performed the whole service, 

to their great disappointment & the amusement of many, who knew with what 
reluctance her ladyship had quitted her own parish church. Mrs. Otway Maine 
has lost her eldest son ; fortunately she was staying with her Mother at Bath when 
this event took place. Mr. Robert Maine's eldest son, who you may remember to 
have heard was a most promising lad, is dicing of a consumption, & Mr. Kelson 
thinks cannot survive beyond May. We called upon Mrs. Charles Petley on Friday 
morning ; she was allow'd to come down stairs the day before & appear'd in good 
spirits. We are much concerned to hear that Fanny Allnutt has had a relapse, 
indeed I think we hear of nothing but illness among our acquaintance. Your 
friend Admiral Lawford is very ill at this time, but know not his complaint. Mr. 
Rush received a summons that his mother was dangerously ill, & Mrs. Packman 
went down to her daughter during his absence. I fear you will think I send you 
quite a sick list, but poor young Peak, Betty Morgan's husband, is in the last stage 
of a decline & not expected to live from day to day. . . . Julia has planted 
half the Enenomes sent by Mr. Acton in the upper part of the bed where the enenomes 
of last year & the pinks were put, the best place she cd find in the garden ; the 
remainder wait your future orders. I hope my Aunt will get a good tenant for her 
farm & one more regular in his payments than Hooker. . . . Maryanne 

" Tonbridge, March 26th, 1820. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . Mr. Ashburnham spent a night at Dry Hill in his way from Chichester ; 
we saw him for about ten minutes, he appeared in great spirits & looked extremely 
well. I hear Miss Bancroft is engaged to be married to a gentleman in the Army, 
but do not know whether it is considered a desirable connexion. I accompanied 
Mrs. West and her young ladies about ten days ago to call on Mrs. S. Woodgate. 
Although the children had the Hooping cough, they all looked remarkably well, 
and the youngest boy is one of the sweetest children I have seen for some time. 
Poor little Arthur's is a most unlucky accident, but I am happy to find he is doing 
as well as possible. 

I spent a very pleasant day at the Postern last week with Miss Sydney & Susan 
Allnutt. I fear poor Fanny, tho' she is considered better, does not mend as fast 
as could be wished. Mrs. Knox invited me to dine with them last Friday to meet 
Mr. & Mrs. Hardinge, but as it was not quite convenient for me to dine out, as my 
Aunt expected Hooker, I went in the evening. She shewed me a pair of very hand- 
some diamond Ear-rings, a present from Mr. T. Knox ; my Aunt says they are not 
genuine, but of this I am not a sufficient judge to determine, I only know they are 
very brilliant. I am sorry to say very little progress is made in the arrangement 
of my Aunt's affairs, & I begin to fear they will not very speedily be compromised. 
Mr. James West advises her not to appear anxious to come into their terms, as he 
thinks a little delay may be advantageous to her. 

The enlargement of the Church is decided on (by a great majority) & I believe 
it is to be begun very soon ; I have seen the model of the alteration & think it will 
be extremely handsome. The Weddings furnish the chief subjects of conversation 
here at present ; it is said Mr. Carnell's with Miss Laura Scoones is to take place very 
soon. I am told Mr. Arthur Pott is to fulfill an old promise & present the bride with 
a wedding dress. I wish Sir James Cockburn would continue the mortgage my 
Mother holds on the Farm at Burwash, as I fear she will not be able to dispose of 
the money to so much advantage in any other way. . . . Frances Humphry." 

To this period must be ascribed the following letter, undated, addressed to Miss 
Humphry at Tonbridge : — 

" Wednesday Morng, April 4th. 

As my dear Fanny expresses a wish to hear an early account of the ball, I must 
inform her that I attended it with Mrs. Caroline Hardinge & our friend Caroline. 


There were a few more than a hundred present, & tho' not graced by any of the 
nobility it proved an uncommonly pleasant ball, particularly to the dancers, as 
beaux were in great abundance. The dancing commenced with Miss KnatchbuU 
& Mr. Cobb of Ightham & followed by about thirty couple. Captn. Woodgate 
[John] as Steward gave the greatest satisfaction & from his attention to all the company 
I think I may venture to say there has not been so popular a steward since the new 
ball room has been opened. The sombre garb of mourning admitted not of much 
variety among the dresses, but about a dozen white contributed to enliven the room. 
The hair was chiefly formed in braids ornamented with flowers & feathers, & many 
wore coronet combs with white pearls. All the young ladies have taken to dancing 
quadrilles, & as they were more approved of we had only two country dances. Mrs. 
Wells brought a large party, & among them Sir Thomas Croft, a very fine dancer 
& son of the late unfortunate Sir Richard Croft. Mrs. C. Hardinge made a good 
chaperone, «& we did not get home till it wanted ten minutes to four, . . The 
Family are now at Wilderness & the young ladies seem to enjoy this fine weather. 
Ld. Brecknock is returned from Vienna ; we met him at the Grove & he seems to 
be improved by his intercourse with the world. . . . Maryanne Humphry." 

Miss Humphry's place at Tonbridge was taken by Julia, and Mrs. Humphry, 
Frances and Mary Anne went to spend a few days with Mr. Baker in town, where 
their time was fully occupied in visiting the different places of interest. They 
attended the christening of their nephews WilHam and Stephen Humphry at St. 
George's, Hanover Square ; Richard and Julia were too unwell, and were privately 
baptised afterwards. Captain Newcomb was William's godfather ; it would seem 
that the children's baptism had been delayed for some reason. Mr. Van, one of the 
Clerks in the Council Office, was seriously ill and not expected to survive many days ; 
on his death, William Ozias Humphry expected an increase of salary of from £150 
to £200 a year. It was customary in those days for those in the country to give 
their friends on going to London a number of commissions to execute. The following 
note, written on their return, refers to one of these, the tea. 

" Seal, May ye 4th [1820]. 
My dearest Julia. 

. . . I am sorry I have not had an opportunity of sending my sister's 
tea, which is safely stored in the House keepers' room. We expect our Neighbours 
[the Mrs. Hardinges] home next Friday which will enliven us much. I suppose 
you hear a great deal of London intelligence from Mrs. [Charles] Hardinge. I grieve 
most sincerely for the distress the poor Allnutts are in, we have only to pray for 
dear Fanny's speedy release. We expect Mrs. William Humphry & her little Tribe 
whenever the children are well enough to travel ; I have invited poor little William as I 
think a little country air quite necessary after the Hooping Cough. . .Elizabeth 

In June Mary Anne Humphry spent several days with Lady Hardinge at 
Sundridge, of which she has left a full account : — 

' ' I went on Friday & they were so kind to send me home yesterday morning. 
General Wolf was staying there the whole time & likewise General Brooke, with 
Mr. & Mrs. Bloxam & a Miss Ansley, sister to the latter, for the first few days. I 
passed my time very agreably and they were so obliging to take me on Saturday 
to call at Hill Park, Mrs. Gibbons', and afterwards to Mr. Bloxam's at Ide Hill. 
This place at the present season is very beautiful & I was surprised with the extent 
of view it commands on every side. When the Bloxham's first came to the Hill, 
it was you know considered a dreary spot, but by forming plantations & making 
a beautiful garden he has really rendered it an enviable situation. On Sunday 
after attending the morning service the Carriage was ordered and we went to pay 
a visit at Mr. Manning's [William Manning of Coombe Bank, M.P., was the father 
of Cardinal Manning] where we had the pleasure of seeing all the family. Miss 


Manning by daylight is a very pretty girl & said to be extremely clever. Their 
house is even more splendidly fitted up than in Lord Frederick's time and they 
live in all the magnificence of the Eastern style. Afterwards we proceeded to 
Chevening Place. Lady Stanhope was gone out walking ; however we went in to 
view the principal ap'partments, which are very handsome, & his Library & collection 
of books are said to be the best in the neighbourhood. We were shewn the gardens, 
lately finished, & laid out after the French style with numberless gravel walks with 
parterrs of flowers interspersed bordered with box and covering a space of seven 
or eight acres. Beyond was a fine piece of water with a view of the surrounding 
country. After this we called upon Mrs. John Austen who had been confined just 
a month and was down stairs for the first time. On reaching the house two little 
smiling boys in a new garden chaise drawn by their nurses met us, & I have not 
seen finer children for some time ; her little girl is a very fine baby. Lady Catherine 
Stanhope happened to be there at the time, a fine rosy faced child about ten months 
old. While Lady Hardinge remained with Mrs. Austen, I attended the gentlemen 
round the garden which did not quite answer the description I had heard. I have 
now a wedding to inform you of. Miss Lane is engaged to marry a Mr. Fitzhue, 
residing in the neighbourhood of Southampton, with the entire approbation of her 
friends. His father is a man of large fortune, and the Son was originally intended 
for the diplomatic line but afterwards preferred going into the church. After 
breakfast on Monday, while Lady Hardinge was preparing to return to town, I 
accompanied General Wolf to see the paper mills. I was much gratified with viewing 
the machinery & the whole process of making the paper, & had no idea that paper 
underwent so many changes before it comes into use. . . 

We were much grieved to hear of the illness of poor Mrs. Charles Petley ; indeed 
her sufterings seem to have greatly alarmed all her Family, but a note received 
from my Uncle Henry informs us that aU apprehensions of her danger are happily 
removed. I much fear there is no hope of a similar good report from South Park 
& in the present distressing state of poor Fanny Allnutt her Friends can only hope 
that her sufferings may not long be protracted. . . I am sure you will be concerned 
to hear of an event that has taken place at Kemsing. Poor Mr. Thomas Relph 
after only a few days illness died last week. His Death was brought on solely 
by distress of mind occasioned by the embarrassment of his affairs & has plunged 
aU his Family in the deepest affliction, & his poor widow is said to be quite incon- 
solable. Mr, Edward Smith performed the whole of the duty here on Sunday, 
& Fanny thinks he has a very fine voice. . . ." 

' ' Tun bridge, Sunday, June nth, 1820. 
My dear Mother, 

. . . The Bells are now ringing most merrily to celebrate the arrival 
of Mr. & Mrs. Willm. Scoones ; they have been spending a short time in the Isle of 
Wight since their Marriage. Mr. & Mrs. Carnell returned to Tunbridge on Friday. 
As Fanny is so much interested in Tunbridge News, I must inform her of a wedding 
which we hear (though not from any authority) is likely to take place ; it is said 
that Mr. Harmer's eldest son is paying his addresses to Miss Sophia Harvey. If 
this is the case I should think it would be a most advantageous match for the Lady, as 
he is a young man of excellent character. We were very sorry to hear of Mrs. Charles 
Petley's serious illness ; my Uncle Henry has informed us in confidence that his 
son Francis has obtained the refusal of Mr. Simmonds' House, but I must request 
you not to mention this again, as they wished it not to be known at present. I 
dined with Mrs. Luxford last Tuesday & met Mrs. & Miss Mascel, Mr. Ashburnham 
& Mr. James West. Miss Mascel (tho' not handsome) is a very sensible agreable 
young Woman ; you may recollect she is the Lady that was mentioned for Mr. 
Lane last Xmas. They appeared much interested in every event relating to the 
Sevenoaks neighbourhood. Miss Luxford is now introduced in company; she is 
much improved in her appearance & a remarkably good humoured pleasant girl. . . 


The Law suit which was instituted against the Skinners Company has been, decided 
in favour of Tunbridge, & I understand the School will gain an addition of four 
thousand a year to its funds. I am very glad to find Maryanne has enjoyed so 
pleasant a visit at Sundridge. Mrs. C. Hardinge is not looking the better for her 
London gayety. Her little girls are much grown and looking extremely well. I hear 
Mrs. Julia Hardinge has been quite well during her stay in Town, & been out to 
parties almost every day. I hear Lord Brecknock [Lord Camden's eldest son] 
entered the Tunbridge troop last week ; he has taken John Woodgate's [of Stonewall] 
place as Lieutenant, under Mr. Nouaille. I am told Mr. Willm. Lambard is placed 
on half pay for two years, & that himself & Mrs. Willm. Lambard are coming to 
Sevenoaks to reside with his Family till they can procure a House. My Aunt has 
heard nothing from Mr. Alexander since Fanny left Tunbridge. I understand 
this delay is occasioned by Dr. Brodrip, who has been seriously ill, but is now recovering 
and I beheve camiC to Summerhill last week. . . . 

Juliana Humphry." 

Everyone familiar with Jane Austen is aware that it was one of the customs 
of her period to form parties who drove in carriages to picnic in some retired spot 
and spend the day there. One of such picnics is described in a note written about 
this time. 
" My dear Fanny, 

. . . I accompanied a large Party yesterday to Buckhurst ; the weather 
was uncommonly favourable for an outdoors Excursion & I spent a most agreable 
day. The Party consisted of Mr. & Mrs. Luxford & their two Daughters, Mr. & 
Mrs. Hardinge, the Miss Eyles's, & the Miss Powells. Mrs. Luxford who formed 
the Party invited me, & Mrs. Hardinge in the kindest manner accomodated me 
with a seat in her carriage. \^^e left Tunbridge about eleven, and reached the 
place of our destination a little before two. The situation of Buckhurst is very 
delightful. We went over the House & afterwards explored the beauty of the 
Grounds. An excellent cold dinner was provided by the party, of which we partook 
under a large Oak near the House. In the afternoon we walked to Withyam & 
went over the Church ; a monument has lately been erected to the memory of the 
young Duke with a very suitable & appropriate inscription, said to be written by 
Ld. Whitworth. I was particularly gratified, indeed all the Company appeared 
much pleased with their visit, & Mr. Luxford purposes forming a party on the same 
plan to attend the Wells Races. I understand the Mrs. Hardinges are enjoying 
themselves very much in the Isle of Wight ; they have taken Lodgings at Cowes 
for a fortnight from last Monday. Mr. & Mrs. Knox & the Doctor returned to 
Tunbridge last Thursday. Mr. Knox I am sorry to hear has been very unwell during 
his absence. . . . Juliana Humphry." 

" Seal, Wednesday Morng., Novr. 8th, 1820. 
My dear Juha, 

. . . We dined at Greatness the day Col. Thomas & his daughter returned 
from Tunbridge. They all seemed most happy in renewing their acquaintance 
with their former friends & neighbours. My Aunt they told us was looking remark- 
ably well & not a day older than when they had last the pleasure of seeing her. Susan 
was very happy to meet you at Mrs. Knox's ; she spent two days with us & is so 
intelligent that we derived much pleasure from her society & in hearing their different 
adventures since their residence on the Continent. All the family spent an evening 
with us before they left Greatness. Poor Mrs. William Thomas we thought looking 
less well & thinner than when she left England. Sir Richd. & Lady Hardinge 
have taken up their residence in London for the present. Sir Henry has lately been 
on a visit at Sundridge & also at the Grove. Fanny spent a day at the Grove during 
his stay, with Sir Richd & Lady Hardinge, Mr. & Miss Taylor & Mr. Henry Leake. 
Harriet Papillon came to the Grove on Wednesday to pass a month with her friend 
Caroline. The Mrs. Hardinges were much distressed yesterday on hearing of the 


sudden death of Mrs. George Hardinge. She had been spending a fortnight with a 
friend in Suffolk. They have as yet heard few particulars, but imagine her death 
to have been occasioned by a fit of appoplexy. So many sad events of this nature 
have lately taken place in their family that the spirits of the Mrs. Hardinges seem 
much depressed at this time. 

We have seen the Lady Pratts frequently of late ; they brought us a large 
basket of dalia roots. They really pay great attention to the School & have 
now arranged for the girls to work in the former school room. Lady Georgiana 
is now on a visit to Lady Downshire. Yesterday after visiting the school 
we took a walk with Lady Frances & Lady Caroline, & on our return found 
Mr. Francis Woodgate. He thinks of quitting Nuffield very soon & taking early 
possession of his house at Tunbridge [Ferox Hall]. Mrs. Charles Thompson & 
her two second daughters have been staying for the last fortnight at Falke ; previous 
to their visit there, the two young ladies had been passing ten days with Mr. Thomas(?) 
Dyke. Miss Fanny Thompson is a very pleasing girl, just seventeen, & very striking 
in her appearance. Mrs. Charles Thompson is still very handsome after having 
had sixteen children, eleven of whom survived. You will be surprized to hear 
that on Monday we dined with Mr. Whitehead who gave us an excellent dinner. 
We had a very pleasant day altho the party was small consisting of Mrs. C. Thompson 
& daughters, Mr. Thompson of Falke, with ourselves ; perhaps it might have been 
enlivened by the addition of Mr. John Thomas [Thompson ?] whom we were led to 
expect would have joined the party, but unfortunately the invitation was by mistake 
carried round by London & reached him too late. We are anxious to hear that the 
church at Tunbridge is opened ; we hope that my Aunt will continue to be accomodated 
with a comfortable seat. . . . Maryanne Humphry." 

Maryanne was to have taken Julia's place at Tonbridge, but the latter wrote 
deferring her departure till the Sevenoaks Ball was over, which she desired 
Maryanne might not miss by being at Tonbridge. The reply describes the event. 

" Seal, Saturday Morng., Nov. 25th, 1820. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . Having seen Mr. Francis Woodgate yesterday you have probably 
heard from him the particulars of the Ball. You may conceive that some of the 
ladies had not much dancing when I tell you there were only seven dancing gentlemen 
to twelve ladies. There was a beautiful supper & only forty to partake of it. Mr. 
Manning's family & Mr. & Mrs. John Austen were the only distant families present. 
There were only quadrilles & one country dance before we came away, but I under- 
stand it was concluded with our own national dances. Miss Manning who was 
attired in mourning was certainly the attraction of the evening. Mrs. Caroline 
Hardinge went early with the intention of passing an hour or two with Mrs. Otway, 
but poor woman she was too unwell to receive us, being confined to her bed for 
two days with an absess. We therefore went on to Mrs. Lambard's & I had the 
pleasure of seeing Miss Bridon (who you know never attends Balls) looking more 
beautiful than ever. All the circle at River Hill with the exception of my Aunt, 
Mrs. C. Hardinge, Mr. Stephen Woodgate, Caroline & Harriet dined with us yesterday 
& Mrs. Nouaille came in the evening. Mr. Whitehead was prevented joining our 
party by the death of his sister in law, Mrs. Whitehead of Ash, & whose funeral 
he attended yesterday. The recent mortality in that family is really mournful 
and another son is said to be declining with a consumption. We have as yet had 
no illumination for the Queen altho a faint attempt was made on one evening. I 
am sure your sentiments on that subject will endear you to your godmother. Mr. 
Whitehead's praying for her spotless Majesty two Sundays has excited a great oration. 
Lord Camden spoke to him on Sunday & certainly he has laid himself open to a severe 
repremand from his Bishop. I shall be glad to hear yr church is again open, tho' 
from the season of the year it must be damp and you shd be very careful on first 
attending it. . . Maryanne Humphry." 


" Seal, Sunday, Deer. 17th, 1820. 
My dearest Julia, 

. . . The Duchess of Dorset called here last Tuesday & was very conversable 
& agreable ; this morng we received an invitation from her Grace to a dance at 
Knole on Wednesday the 27th Inst. As this is the case I regret my dr Julia that 
you are not able to partake the amusement, as you are more of an age to enjoy dancing 
than myself. Miss F. & Miss E. Papillon have been at the Grove since Tuesday. 
We have been much gratified in seeing some of the former's paintings. She has lately 
finished two pieces of Feints, which are really some of the most beautiful productions 
of the kind I ever saw. We drank tea at Greatness on Friday with the party from 
the Grove, when Mr. Nouaille exhibited many of his interesting curiosities for the 
amusement of the young ladies. Our friend Peter came from Oxford for the Christ- 
mas vacation last Tuesday. Sir Richard Hardinge has sent down a box containing 
six caps that he intends as presents to his friends, out of which my Mother has received 
a very pretty white satten turban that will prove particularly acceptable should 
she feel herself equal to the fatigue of attending the Knole Ball. The Book-meeting 
is fixed for next Thursday, which my Mother will attend & perhaps one of us. 
I hear Tonbridge Church is extremely handsome ; after having been deprived of 
publick service for so long a time, you must all feel most happy that it is again 
resumed. The Lady Pratts continue to interest themselves very much in the 
School ; we generally meet them there of a Monday Morning, they purpose 
distributing rewards to the children this week previous to the Christmas 
holidays. Our friend Caroline (altho' not quite well) is in great spirits at the pros- 
pect of two fine Balls. . . ." 

The two balls were the Duchess of Dorset's and the New Year's Ball. The latter 
is described by Miss Humphry in the next letter. 

" Seal, January 7th, 1821. 

I reproached myself for having let a week pass without sending my dear Julia 
an account of the New Year's Ball ; I must now inform her that it was a delightful 
one, and that Maryanne and myself enjoyed it very much. I do not know the number 
that were there, but from the appearance of the room should imagine considerably 
more than two hundred. It was really quite a County ball. Most of our own 
nobility were present : Lord Camden carried a party of 17 consisting of part of the 
family of the Duke of Montrose, Lord & Lady Castlereagh, Lord Ellenborough & 
his Brother &c. ; we were quite gratified in having an opportunity of seeing so many 
publick characters. The ladies were more splendidly attired, and a much larger 
display of Jewels than at Knole ; Lady Castlereagh was particularly brilhant. 
Dancing commenced about ten, with our own national dance, after which Quadrilles, 
waltzing & a Spanish dance succeeded Your sisters danced all the Quadrilles, which 
perhaps you will be surprised to hear when you recollect that last year I thought 
my dancing days at an end. It was the general opinion that there was a much 
larger display of beauty than at Knole ; Lady Caroline Pratt looked particularly 
well & was considered one of the BeUes of the Evening. Miss Sidney came with 
the Mays ; she appeared very happy to meet us & greeted us with all her former 
good humour & cordiahty. Lord Brecknock & Mr. Sidney have accepted the office 
of Stewards for the present year. Mr. Hemming came down on Saturday evening 
& went with us to the Ball, with which he appeared much gratified ; he was obliged 
to return to Town the following Monday morning being engaged to attend a private 
ball at Hampton that evening, given to celebrate the coming of age of two of his 
particular friends (twin Brothers) on that day. Our friend Mr. Baker is quite 
well. You will be happy to hear that Carohne Hardinge is very much recovered ; 
she has for some days been able to come into the dressing room & enjoy the society 
of her friends. I spent a day with her last week & Maryanne is going to the Grove 
for the same purpose to-morrow. Poor Mrs. Otway died last Thursday; her health 
had been declining for some time but her friends did not apprehend that her end 


was so near till a few days previous to her decease. She was so kind hearted & 
friendly a woman that her loss will long be lamented by all her family & friends. 
Mr. Townsend, a friend of Lord Camden's, performed the duty here this afternoon, 
& was very much admired ; he is very young (not in Priest's orders) but a very 
animated preacher & promises to excel in his Profession. . . Mr. Irving called 
here a few days ago & I am sorry to say gave but an indifferent account of Mrs. 
Irving's health ; she is now at Eaton with her three little Girls. I hope Miss Luxford 
liked the Ball ; she was attired in a very pretty dress. A large party from the 
Wells attended the Ball of which Mrs. Fane was the most distinguished for beauty 
of person & elegance of dancing. . . ." 

Soon after this, Miss Humphry succeeded Julia at Tonbridge, and received a 
letter from Mary Anne describing yet another ball. 

" Seal, Janry. 21st, 1821. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . You may depend upon receiving your Italian Honeysucldes by Mrs. 
Nouaille on Monday next, when she purposes with Mr. Nouaille & Anne to spend 
a few days with Mr, & Mrs. West at the Postern. We were happy to find you had 
enjoyed several pleasant engagements since your return to Tunbridge, & Mr. Alex- 
ander giving you a frank was a fortunate circumstance as I am sure Mr. Acton 
would be gratified to receive a perusal of the Tunbridge news, from his favorite 
cousin. . . Caroline Hardinge attended the last Ball with the Family at Wilder- 
nesse ; as usual, she was encircled by a host of partners. She is not inclined to vanity, 
or the attentions she meets with from Gentlemen on these occasions might turn the 
head of a young girl. There were eighty four in number and all the grandees, with 
the addition of Lady Glengal brought by Lady Stanhope, & Lady Downshire with 
her son, a charming boy eight years of age ; Lady Caroline Pratt (always good natured 
to children) went down a country dance & this young boy afterwards wished to 
join in the quadrilles. Lady Londonderry & her nieces called here on Thursday 
& sat an hour ; her manners are mild & pleasing which add a grace to the high 
endowments of her mind. On Friday we dined at Wilderness & spent a very pleasant 
day ; Lady Elizabeth Pratt really seem'd delighted to see my Mother & paid her 
much attention. She has the most benign countenance I ever beheld, & the manner 
in which she spoke of our dear departed Father was truly gratifying, for whom I 
verily believe she entertained a sincere regard. Lord Camden went to town early 
the next morning & the two sisters departed for Baldero. My mother took it kind 
in Mrs. West calling upon her as her stay at Greatness was so short. My Mother & 
Julia are going this morning to 7 oaks to make some visits & are to take Mrs. Caroline 
Hardinge & her niece ; one of their horses is laid up & so my Mother puts a pr. of 
Horses to their carriage. . .Maryanne Humphry." 

' ' Tunbridge, April loth, 1821. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . Mr. Alexander came to Summer Hill yesterday. He wishes extremely 
to liquidate my Aunt's debt as well as that of the other creditors, but his SoHcitors 
have requested the delaj/ of a few davs till some necessary instruments are signed. 
The loss is his as the money is lying idle, & the creditors will receive interest to the 
day of payment ; at the same time, the delay is vexatious to all parties. . . Mr. 
& Mrs. Francis Woodgate returned from London on Saturday ; Mr. Clarke approves 
of the manner in which little Johnny has been treated both by Mr. Webb & Mr. 
Morris & recommended them to pursue nearly a similar system. Mr. F. Woodgate 
executed the commission I gave him to my intire satisfaction. He made the purchase 
at Swan's in Picadilly as he cd not match the colour at Grafton House or any other 
place ; this shop is considered one of the cheapest & best in London. My Aunt 
Rose desires me to thank you for your kind present of dahas, & which she has no 
doubt will greatly embellish her garden. Mr. F. Woodgate will be much obliged 
to you for a few of the Corcoris Japonica & to send them to him at the proper season 


of the year. I imagine you are now beginning to look forward to our friends return 
at the Grove. Mrs. Woodgate call'd upon them in town & thought all the ladies 
looking remarkably well. Have you heard who has taken the house at Godding 
[probably that lately vacated by Francis Woodgate on his removal to Ferox Hall, 
Tonbridge] ? How goes on our worthy vicar ? & do you continue to beat him at 
chess ? or perhaps, like your friend Mr. Brown, you now & then give him a game 
for a little encouragement ? Mr. Bouvier left some considerable property ; what 
he possessed in France he bequeathed to his brother there ; he has left Miss Feldwick 
all his stock of wine & the furniture of the house, besides which she comes in for 
the house in the row given her (I believe) by Mrs. Bouvier, two hundred pounds to the 
maid servant, & twenty with his cloths to the man. Poor man, he made his will 
but a few hours before his death & was sensible to the last. . . . Maryanne 

The next letter describes in some detail an eloquent sermon by Mr. Dodd at 
Tonbridge ; the collection at the church doors amounted to forty-six pounds, and 
Mr. Alexander who was in town sent a ten pound note. 

" Tunbridge, May 21st, 1821. 
My dear Julia, 

I was truly happy to hear from the Miss Woodgates [of Riverhill] that my 
Mother, yourself & Fanny were enjoying the interesting scene that took place in 
the neighbourhood of Sevenoaks on Friday last ; I shall hope to be favoured with a 
description, for altho' many particulars have reached me, the impression it made 
upon your minds will be very gratifying to me to hear. It must have been a proud 
day to Mrs. Lambard's family, & no one I doubt not felt more than Miss Bridon 
on the occasion. 

It afforded me much pleasure to find from your kind letter that Mr. Baker 
had not omitted his usual invitation to Town & sincerely do I hope it will prove 
an agreable visit to all the party. ... I have seen the Miss Woodgates fre- 
quently ; on Saturday I walked with Anne to the Postern, and am to take another 
walk with Anne & Sarah this morning. Mr. & Mrs. Knox had a large dinner party 
on Thursday, which I joined in the evening. The company were amused with some 
excellent sleight of hand performances, exhibited by a foreigner from the island 
of Corsica, with which the company expressed themselves much pleased. I was 
rejoiced to hear of Mr. Henry Walter's good fortune, equally honourable to his 
own character as well as to his noble patron who has conferred upon him so valuable 
a piece of preferment. . . . Maryanne Humphry." 

We are fortunate in possessing a letter from Miss Humphry descriptive of hei 
visit to London in June, showing what were then considered the amusements of the 
Metropolis. They started at nine o'clock on Wednesday morning and reached 
St. Paul's at two, where they found Mr. Baker surrounded by many of his relatives 
including a Miss Morris from Salisbury, " a very lively intelligent young woman," 
who reminded them a good deal of Fanny Allnutt. She continues :— 

" After partaking some refreshment, Julia & myself accompanied some of the 
party to Piccadilly to view a beautiful collection of Paintings in water colours that 
are exhibited there ; this art is brought to great perfection. We particularly admired 
the productions of Turner & Robson. Dr. Hemming was so obliging to procure 
us Tickets of admission for the anniversary of the Charity Schools at St. Pauls which 
took^'place on the following day, & a more gratifying & interesting scene can hardly 
be imagined. The number of children present, all neatly dressed and instructed 
by charity, amounted to ten thousand & the spectators beyond my calculation. 
The Bishop of Gloucester preached ; we had very good seats & heard the musick, 
which was very fine, to great advantage. 

Friday evening we attended a concert (for which Mr. Baker presented us with 
tickets) at the Hanover Square Rooms ; we heard some beautiful singing & musick, 

saw a great deal of genteel company, & had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Townes, 
her Daughters & Mrs. Ilbert ; they pressed us very much to accompany them 
to the Foundling Hospital the following Sunday. Saturday we devoted to Shoping. 
Sunday Morning we walked to Mecklenburg Square, accompanied by Frederick 
Hemming & his brother Charles ; we called upon our friends & went with them to 
Church. The service was remarkably well performed & we heard a most excellent 
& impressive sermon on the day from Mr. Hewlit ; the children with a little professional 
aid sang beautifully. After service we saw the children dine, & went over the 
Hospital to see everything worthy of observation. Hogarth's celebrated picture 
of the March to Finchley & many other fine paintings are deposited there. We 
spent an hour with our friends, who have an excellent House handsomely furnished 
& delightfully situated. They all enquired much after you & desired to be most 
kindly remembered. The weather was too cold & uncertain for our projected visit 
to Richmond, but one fine morng we had a little row from Black Fryars to West- 
minster, & I agree with you in thinking it a most agreeable recreation. We visited 
the British Gallery in Pall Mall & were delighted in viewing so many distinguished 
& interesting works of ancient masters ; West's picture of Christ healing the sick 
is exhibited there, which is wonderfully conceived & executed. We afterwards 
inspected a large collection of pictures that are to be disposed of by Lottery in Bond 
Street. We walked in the Burlington Arcade & Western Exchange which are 
nearly as attractive as the Soho Bazaar. We went to see the Egyptian Tomb, 
which must afford much gratification to antiquaries ; it is very curious & gives a 
good idea of the ancient sepulchres of the Egyptians. The difficulties Belzoni 
encountered & the perseverance he displayed in search of these ancient relicks are 
wonderful We concluded our amusements with the Panorama of Naples which 
is the prettiest thing of the kind I ever saw ; the bay of Naples & the surrounding 
scenery are beautiful. My Mother was quite well during her visit ; she kept very 
quiet, not feeling herself equal to much exertion ; the Panorama was the only amuse- 
ment she partook of. We saw our friends in Charlotte Street frequently. Mrs. 
William Humphry is looking remarkably well, & the Infant tho small is a very 
healthy child ; he is to be named Frederick ; the rest of the Children are well & 
Richard quite restored to his former looks. We all dined with my Brother the day 
before we left Town. We had a great many commissions to execute for ourselves 
& friends ; but I think you will say we contrived to blend a large share of amusements 
with them. . . ." 

" Tonbridge, Novr. 19th, 1821. 
. . . I wish I could send you a better account of our poor Invalid friend 
here, but with concern I inform you Mrs. F. Woodgate's sufferings increase ; she 
says she is never free from pain. Her spirits at times are very much depressed. 
I often go & sit with her, as the society of her friends appears to afford her some 
relief. You have not answered the question respecting the field at Godden, which 
answer Mr. F. Woodgate is anxious to obtain. Mr. Knox, Mr. Luxford & Mr. W. 
Scoones were kept in Town all last week by the Skinner's Business, which did not 
come on till Friday. Mr. Knox came home late on Saturday night & returned 
early this morning. He says they shall probably be detained the whole of the 
present week & it is uncertain whether it will even then be decided. Mrs. James 
West had a little party last Friday evening ; it consisted of Mrs. & Miss Salmon, 
Mrs. W. Harvey (who is staying with her daughter), Mr. & Mrs. Morris, Mr. F. 
Woodgate, Mr. Brown & myself ; as the weather was so unfavourable Mrs. West 
was so kind to accomodate me with a bed & I spent the following day at Dry HiU. 
Mr. Salmon was too unwell to join the party ; his tithe meeting at Tudely took 
place the beginning of the week & proved very unproductive ; it is thought this 
disappointment (in the irritable state of his nerves) produced a return of indisposition. 
Johnny West's complaint proved the jaundice ; he has been as yellow as an orange 
but is now recovering his complexion & is much better. . . The Ball appears 

to have been very select ; it is seldom at this season of the year that so large a display 
of nobility are present. My Aunt paid the remainder of the purchase money for the 
share of the Farm &c. on Friday to William Woodgate by the desire of Mr. West 
& Mr. Carnell*." 

In November the Lord Chancellor gave his decision with respect to the 
htigation between Tonbridge School and the Skinners Company (the Governors). 
Sir Andrew Judde, founder of the school, had devised some property to the 
Skinners Company in trust for the school. Some of the property, then only grass 
fields, is now covered by what is part of the Borough of St. Pancras, and is of enormous 
value. The Skinners contended that they might retain for themselves whatever 
surplus there might be after providing for the school ; but this view was not shared 
by the Court, and the whole funds were ordered to be applied for school purposes. 
This dispute has been referred to in some of the previous letters, and is mentioned 
in the next : — 

" Monday Morng., 8 o'clock [Seal, November, 1821]. 
My dear Fanny, 

W^e have seen Mrs. Stephen Woodgate several times since she has been at the 
Grove. Yesterday CaroHne Hardinge, Charles, Arthur & Jane [Woodgate] dined 
with us. I have now a piece of news to communicate, which I think will occasion 
you some surprize. Sir Henry Hardinge is soon to be united to Lady Emily James. 
This intelligence was communicated to us a short time ago by the Mrs. Hardinges, 
but I must request you not to mention it at present, as they wish it not to be pub- 
lickly known till after the ceremony has taken place. Sir Henry has been staying 
at Wynyard with Lord Stewart for some months ; and Lady Londonderry and her 
daughter have been likewise in the House. His family appear much pleased with 
the connection although at present they will have a very hmited income. Mr, 
& Mrs. Charles Hardinge are returned to Ketton ; Mr. Hardinge is anxious to remain 
in the North till after his Brother's Marriage has taken place. Mrs. Charles Hardinge 
was to dine with Lady Stewart to be introduced to her future sister. Lord Stewart 
has invited all Sir Henry's Family to be present at the wedding, but they consider 
it too distant a journey for them to undertake at this season of the year. After the 
ceremony has taken place, the Bride and Bridegroom are to remain at Wynyard 
for a Month. Sir Henry is now in Town, and is coming into this Neighbourhood 
in a few days. Lady Elizabeth Pratt is at Wilderness, and Lady Londonderry 
is expected in the course of the present week. The accounts of poor Miss Fanny 
Lambard are much more unfavourable. The xening of Mr. Willm Lambard's 
son is to take place next Monday ; our friends at the Grove are invited to dine with 
them on the occasion, after which Mr. & Mrs. Lambard are going to join their farnily 
at Hastings. We were happy to see in the Papers that the Lord Chancellor's decision 
is in favour of Tunbridge School ; it must eventually prove of great advantage to the 
town, and I hope that it will be settled soon enough for our cousins at Dry hill, the 
Wests, to derive advantage from it Julia Humphry." 

In December, Mary Anne Humphry writes from Seal : — 

' ' The Miss Woodgates [of Riverhill] with William Woodgate [afterwards 
of Swaylands] called here for five minutes yesterday ; they were in a hurry as William 
was going to Town & was fearful of being too late for the Coach. Mrs. Charles 
Petley went to Town early in the week to consult Dr. Clarke, having experienced 
a change of symptoms in her side. Mrs. Lightfoot has made another addition to 
her family. We partook of a haunch of venison yesterday, & spent a sociable 
pleasant day with the family at the Grove. Mrs. Juha Hardinge (altho' much 
improved in Health) is too much of an invalid to have a large party. As Mrs. S. 
Woodgate calls on you this morning by appointment, you will he«r an account 
of her brother's intended wedding. In case other morning visitors should prevent 

* See Reference Sheet. 

this communication & I know you are interested in this occasion, I insert a few 
particulars. Mr. & Mrs. Hardinge & Mrs. Hardinge of Ketton (if she finds herself 
equal to the undertaking) with other friends assemble at Wyndyard on the eighth. 
On the tenth a breakfast a la fourchette is to be given about one o'clock, & at four 
Sir Henry is to be united to Lady Emily by special licence. The ceremony is to be 
performed by his Brother Charles, after which the bride and bridegroom set off for 
a seat of Lord Stewart's twenty miles from Wyndyard. In the meantime the 
guests are to enjoy themselves, probably with a ball, & the evening will conclude 
with a splendid supper. The next day all the party assembled are to separate. 
All these arrangements are made by Lady Stewart, & Lord Castlereagh has expressed 
his approbation of the wedding in a very kind & friendly manner. Sir Henry has 
taken a house in Grosvenor Square for the winter." 

" Seal, March 8th, 1822. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . Poor Mrs. Julia Hardinge has not been so well for the last week, & 
Mrs. Caroline in consequence has suffered much from anxiety. The cheerful 
society of Mrs. Stephen is a great comfort to her aunts ; she leaves them to-morrow. 
They will not be alone again for some time, for Mrs. Hardinge is to spend a few 
days with them on Monday & Miss Fanny Papillon comes to the Grove the middle 
of the month. Mr. & Mrs. Smith came down to Greatness Saturday & returned 
early Monday morning. Julia walked to call upon Mrs. Nouaille yesterday with 
Mrs. S. Woodgate & Caroline. Mrs. Allnutt is going on well & Maria is quite recovered. 
Mrs. Allnutt has received a letter from Miss Sydney in which she speaks in high terms 
of the Ladies Keppel. Mr. William Coke has conducted himself remarkably well 
on the marriage of his Uncle, altho' he feels the disappointment & says " his Sun 
is now set." This strange Union of Mr. Coke is universally censured, & the general 
opinion seems to be that he has disgraced the character he has hitherto sustained. 
We are sorry to hear there is a demur to Anna Woodgate's wedding ; when an event 
of this kind is publickly announced, any impediment to arise is always a disadvantage 
to the young lady. . ." 

Meanwhile Mrs. Julia Hardinge's health was breaking up, and she died in 
April, 1822. After describing the progress of her disorder in some detail, Mary 
Anne Humphry proceeds (ist April, 1822) : — 

". . . Caroline was uneasy at the accounts she heard of her aunt and 
requested to return, as she did yesterday ; tho pleasure awaited her in all directions, 
she could not enjoy it in the present suffering state of her aunt. Fanny Papillon 
has proved an admirable nurse during her absence & was delighted to see her return 
accompanied by her brother Tom [Papillon], who escorted his cousin from London. 
He called here yesterday after lunch and I am quite of your opinion in thinking 
him a very fine young man with remarkably pleasing manners. Julia dined & 
slept at the Grove on Friday & thought there was a material alteration in poor 
Mrs. Julia. Sir Richard & Lady Hardinge are coming to Sundridge on Thursday ; 
Sir Richard wishes to give up his house in the country provided anyone will take 
the lease, but as this is doubtful on the terms he proposes his family think he may 
continue there for another year. . . John Thompson favoured us with a visit 
on Wednesday ; the magnificent beauty Miss Marquet has been staying at LuUingstone 
— he seemed mortyfied that his friend Whitehead (who had dined there the day 
before) did not extol her in the same rapturous terms as himself, & you will be 
surprised to hear that he prefers Caroline Hardinge in the tout ensemble. He has 
passed a most agreeable three months at the house of his patron, in the society of 
Miss Calcraft and others, all of whom were to disperse the end of last week. He 
admired our Greenhouse, and said I do assure you Miss Maryanne they are very 
superior to the plants at LuUingstone ; he has promised to bring us some Neapolitan 
violets. I was quite concerned to hear the account you gave of Henry Scoones, 
but hope an amendment has before this taken place. Miss Cobb the younger is 


going to be very well married to a Mr. Lambart of Beau Port near Hastings. Mrs. 
& Miss Randolf called here on Friday & the day before we had a visit from Mrs. 
Parsons & Mrs. Crow. Do inform us if any of our Tunbridge friends intend coming 
to the Ball ; the Knole family, as Lady Plymouth is going to them, will probably 
be there. . . Your letter is just arrived & I have only time to say you are the 
best correspondent in the world. . . Maryanne Humphry." 

" Tonbridge, April i6th, 1822. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . I was happy to hear from Mr. & Mrs. S. Woodgate (who I dined with at 
the Vicarage on Friday on their return from the Grove) that they found poor Mrs. 
Julia Hardinge in a more comfortable state than they expected ; she was quite 
cheerful & enlivened by Sir Henry's visit & their society, & her spirits were less 
depressed at parting than usual. Mrs. F. Woodgate is much better, although 
at times she endures acute pains. Mr. John Thompson last week spent a few days 
with his friend Mr. J. Harman at Holmden. He called at Dryhill & upon Mr. & 
Mrs. F. Woodgate ; / was not a little mortified that he did not favour us with a visit, 
perhaps you or Maryanne can explain the cause of this apparent neglect. Mr. Donald 
I believe was also of the party. It cannot be said Tonbridge is destitute of Beaus. 
About a fortnight ago I saw more than a hundred Gentlemen of fashion ; Lord Derby's 
hounds were turned out at Wickham and persued a stag to the Wells, where the poor 
animal was taken in a Cottage it had entered for safety by the rocks. Three hundred 
noblem.en & Gentlemen followed the chase ; many of them returned by Tonbridge 
& I do not know when I have seen so many handsome young men. I was very sorry 
to hear from Mrs. S. Woodgate that our friend Mrs. Whitaker is very much out of 
spirits on account of her nephew George having failed in business. This unfortunate 
event happened a few days after the birth of his fifth child ; no blame is attached to 
him, his failure being solely occasioned by a strong opposition in Trade. The Measels 
have again made their appearance here ; George Luxford came home for the Easter 
Holadays, & a few days ago failed with the complaint. It is supposed he brought 
the infection from School. Poor Henry Scoones's complaint is decidedly on his 
lungs, & I am concerned to hear little hopes are entertained of his recovery. I have 
been invited to the Knox's twice lately, once to spend a day en famille, & last Friday 
evening to meet the Francis Woodgates ; I was sorry I was not able to accept either 
invitation. Anna [Woodgate] is still there ; she tehs me she thinks of taking up her 
abode at Hastings. I am sorry to tell you all visiting & intercourse has been suspended 
between the Knox's & Hardinges since Anna has been at Tonbridge ; surely it would 
be better to lose the recollections of these misunderstandings in oblivion. My 
Aunt is making some Raisin Wine. . . Mr. Tom May is gone to France ; when 
he comes back, do not you think he will a little resemble the Monkey who has seen 
the world ? I think I hear you censure me for this remark ; but the Gentleman 
is so conceited that surely he is a fair object for a little satire. As the Ball proved 
so good a one I am very sorry you & Maryanne were not there ; I am told Caroline 
never looked better than on that occasion. Alicia & John West dined here Sunday ; 
William joined the party in the afternoon, when we had a very pleasant walk that 
we all enjoyed much. . . . Frances Humphry." 

The next letter, written in reply, announces Mrs. Julia Hardinge's death : — 
' ' My dear Fanny, 

. . . Before you receive this you will probabty have heard of the death 
of our valuable neighbour Mrs. Julia Hardinge. This Event took place yesterday 
morning about eleven o'clock ; no alteration had taken place in her symptoms 
for some time till the day before, when Mr. Kelson thought her not so well & she 
took a little castor oil at going to Bed, after which she went to sleep, & passed a 
comfortable night. About ten o'clock a material change was observed by her 
Family, when Mr. Richards was sent for, but before he arrived the vital spark was 
extinguished and her life was terminated without a struggle. My Mother went 


to the Grove yesterday with Mrs. Nouaille, when they saw Mrs. Carohne Hardinge 
who was as composed as ought to be expected, and tho deeply affected feels grateful 
to Providence that her departed sister did not longer languish on the bed of sickness, 
and that her sufferings were ended in so tranquil a manner. Mrs. Stephen Woodgate 
& Mr. Hardinge came to the Grove immediately that they received the Intelligence 
of the melancholy Event. I am sure we have lost a most warm hearted & excellent 
Friend ; perhaps her real character was only known to her Relations & most intimate 
Friends, and the Recollection of her many virtues will long live in their Remembrance. 
Caroline Hardinge & Fanny Papillon dined here Monday, and tho' they were aware 
that poor Mrs. Julia was in a most precarious state had no idea that her end was so 
near. Mrs. Caroline Hardinge was so strongly united in affection to her Sister that 
she must feel the separation most severely, but her Relations are so numerous and 
they are so much attached to each other that I have no doubt but she will receive 
every alleviation from their kindness and attention. 

Lord Camden's Family returned to Town Monday. We saw them frequently 
during their stay, & on Sunday my Mother, Maryanne and myself dined at Wilderness, 
and really I do not know when we have enjoyed a Visit more ; all the family were 
so very condescending and agreable. Lord Brecknock returned a few days before, 
we think him improved both in person and manner. Mr. Gower, who was staying 
in the House, Mr. Petley and Mr. Kelson were also of the party. In the evening 
the young Ladies entertained us by shewing us views of Rome, Naples, Venice 
and other curiosities which Lord Brecknock had brought from Italy. Lady Frances 
seems to think her friend Miss Humphry has stayed long enough at Tunbridge 
& wishes to see her again. You will be glad to hear that Mr. Irving has succeeded 
to a very valuable Living in Dorsetshire, presented to him by Doctor Goodall ; it is 
situated in a delightful part of the country & he intends to vacate his living in Sussex. 
We have not seen the Riverhill family for some time ; poor Sarah has been very 
unwell lately with an ague in her Head. We are quite at a loss to account for Mr. 
John Thompson's not having paid a visit to his particular Friend Miss Humphry. 
Mrs. West's visit to Greatness is postponed on account of Mrs. Matthew's illness .... 

Juliana Humphry." 

From Mcirch to July, 1822, there are a series of proposals from Mr. Whitehead 
for Julia Humphry. It is probable that Mr. Whitehead, the Vicar of Seal and an 
old and valued friend of the family, was becoming advanced in years, and his 
addresses discouraged for that reason. His character was in every way amiable 
and respectable and his fortune considerable. 

Lady Frances Pratt, mentioned in the last letter, died in July, 1822, and her 
funeral is described by Julia in a letter to Miss Humphry. 

" The Funeral of Lady Frances Pratt took place here last Tuesday. It was 
conducted in a very private manner. Lord Camden & Lord Stuart attended as 
mourners. Lord Brecknock was so much afflicted by the death of his sister that 
he was unable to be present. The Procession consisted of a Hearse & six and two 
mourning coaches & four, followed by Ld. Camden's carriage. The Children of the 
National School attended by the desire of Ld. & Lady Camden, thinking it would 
be agreable to the wishes of Lady Frances who took so lively an Interest in their 
welfare. The Girls had mourning given them for the occasion & the Boys black 
crape hatbands. . . . We hear Mrs. Randolph is much pleased with her son's 
intended marriage ; Miss Drummond has an Independent Fortune of five hundred 
a year. We have heard a rumour of another wedding ; it is said Mr. T. Harvey 
is to be united to Miss Nunn, a niece of Miss White's." 

Mr. Harvey, Vicar of Cowden, was brother of the second Mrs. Henry Woodgate 
of Spring Grove ; Miss Nunn had a fortune of ;^6o,ooo. That month Maryanne 
Humphry joined Mr. and Mrs. West and Frances Woodgate at Hastings, where 


it was considered her health would be improved by the sea bathing. The Wests 
had taken Mrs. Wingfield's house on the parade. 
' ' My dear Maryanne, 

. . . The kind reception you received from Mr. & Mrs. West was very 
gratifying, I think you cannot do otherwise than enjoy yourself extremely in so 
pleasant a place as Hastings, and in the society of such agreable Friends. We 
heard from my Brother a few days after you left us ; he did not find himself so well 
on his return to Town, and is advised by his medical attendants to spend as much 
time as possible in the country this summer, in consequence of which he came 
to us again last Friday, accompanied by his little son Richard. My Brother's 
health is already a httle improved, & we hope this visit will quite compleat his 
Recovery ; he purposes remaining about ten days, when he will be obliged to return 
to Town, as one or two of the clerks in the Council ofhce are to go in the suite of the 
King to Scotland. William does not find his Health equal to undertake a journey 
towards the North, therefore he will be obliged to resume his official duties during 
his Majesty's absence. Richard is not very strong and we fear his complaint has 
increased. Sir Henry and Lady Emily Hardinge spent a few days at the Grove 
last week. Sir Henry called here accompanied by his Lady, as he wished to have 
an opportunity of introducing her to us. Time has made a great alteration in her 
appearance, I can scarcely believe she is the very pretty Lady Emily Stuart that I 
formerly remember as a belle at the Wilderness Ball. Coll. & Mrs. Evelyn call'd 
Saturday to invite us to dine at St. Clere to-morrow. My Mother is not equal to 
going out, but Fanny & myself have accepted their Invitation, & anticipate much 
pleasure from seeing their Gardens & collection of Plants, which are so much celebrated 
for their beauty. Mrs. Nouaille and Anne walked over and drank Tea with us 
Saturday Evening ; her sons are returned from School looking extremely well. 
Philip is much grown. Fanny had a sociable letter from my Aunt Rose yesterday, 
it is written with much spirit and is really a wonderful Epistle for a Lady that has 
nearly attained her eighty third year. She has been made very nervous by the 
melancholy event which has taken place at her neighbour's the Miss de St. Croix's ; 
she expresses herself very anxious for me to come to her. In consequence of my 
Brother's being here I do not think I can conveniently leave home till next week. . ." 

On Maryanne's return, Mrs. Humphry made a visit to Tonbridge, after which 
Julia spent some time there. 

" Seal, Sepr. 20th, 1822. 
My dear JuUa, 

. . . Mr. Baker & my Brother do not come to us till the end of the month. 
Mr, Baker has been absent for a month in Devonshire. . . . He has relinquished 
Business in favor of his nephew ; he continues to reside in the House & means to do 
so to the end of his Life. I have drawn two Patterns for Miss Luxford, but am so 
little satisfied with my performance that I fear the Miss Humphry's taste will not 
be held in such high esteem in future. My Mother & Maryanne accompanied Mrs. 
Nouaille to drink Tea at the Grove to meet Mrs. S. Woodgate ; the preceding day 
I dined there with Miss Burton, the Sundridge party (with the exception of Mrs. 
Charles Hardinge who could not venture so far from her little Boy), & the Stephen 
Woodgates. William Woodgate joined the Party in the Evening & proceeded to 
Town by the Mail the same night. I understand the Party at the Pembury Christen- 
ing is to be very numerous ; as you are to dine there «& probably will only be invited 
in the evening to Mr. Hardinge's, if you have m.ade yr new Gown I should be tempted 
to wear it. Caroline Hardinge is making a new Dress for the occasion. Mr. John 
Thompson made us a sociable visit last week. He enquired very tenderly after 
Miss Juha ; he told us he had been unmercifully rallied by the Miss Richards at the 
sale the day before ; they said, addressing Sir Thomas Dyke, Mr. Whitehead & him- 
self, that they considered Bachelors quite a nuisance to society. Mr. Whitehead 
had a dinner party last week consisting chiefly of the Thompson f amUy. Sir Thomas 


Lennard has announced to Mrs. Hardinge that his eldest Daughter is soon to be 
united to Mr. St. Albyn, a young clergyman, son of John St. Albyn ; it is rather a 
match of entertainment than splendor. My uncle Henry was so good as to come 
over & spend a morning with us last week : he appears remarkably well, Richard 
often talks of his dear Aunt Julia ; his general health is certainly improved, but 
I fear the weakness in his back increases. He is really a most engaging child & a 
great favourite with us all." 

' ' Seal, Octr. i6th, 1822. 

My dear Juha, 

. . . My Brother's last letter gave a more favourable account of the Children ; 
since the death of poor little Stephen they have been in great anxiety for Frederick. 
He is now, I am happy to add, much better and William and Julia quite recovered 
[from measles]. The Measels are at this time very prevalent here ; we trust by 
not allowing Richard to go into the Village he will escape Infection. He is in very 
good health, but I am sorry to say we think the weakness in his back decidedly 
increased. He is so affectionate & engaging a Child that we shall all be very sorry 
to part with him ; at the same time we are anxious for him to have good advice, & 
hope my Brother will lose no time in consulting Mr. Ward on his return to Town. 
Mr. Baker left us yesterday ; he is remarkably well & more active than when he 
last visited us. He rose every morning at 7 & walked more than usual. Last 
Friday he took us to Knole when Mrs. Hardinge lent us her Donkey Chaise & Caroline 
joined our Party. It is cdways a treat to go over the House & the day was so fine 
that I never saw it to more advantage ; it is kept in the nicest order possible. A very 
good likeness of Lady Delawar by Saunders is the only addition to the Pictures. 
We did not attend the Fair on Saturday, but hearing there was a very good collection 
of animals, Mr. Baker kindly postponed his return to Town that he might accompany 
us Monday, when Caroline again joined our Party. We were much gratified in seeing 
many curious animals, including the Bonassus that created so much curiosity in 
Town last year. We afterwards partook of a most hospitable collation at Mrs. 
Machin's, met many of the Neighbourhood, & spent a most agreeable morning. . . 
Mr. Whitehead dined here last week, & Mrs. Hardinge, Caroline, two Miss Papillons 
with Mrs. Nouaille & Anne came in the Evening ; the night before we met a little 
Party at Greatness. Anne Nouaille anticipates much pleasure from her visit to 
the Postern. Ld. Camden & Ld. Brecknock are gone into Wales : Lady Camden 
& her Daughters are spending the interval of their absence at Hastings. We last 
week received a present of a beautiful basket of Grapes from Wilderness, which 
were particularly acceptable when we had friends to partake of them. Mrs. Hardinge 
& Caroline go to Town to-morrow to be present at the Christening of Sir Henry's 
Httle Boy, which is to take place the following day. Pray tell my Aunt we shall 
not forget to drink her health in a bumper on Friday. We are grieved to hear poor 
Mrs. F. Woodgate is suffering so much, & fear from the nature of her complaint 
the prospect of her obtaining rehef is very uncertain. . . . Frances Humphry." 

The two letters follov/ing must have been written some time in 1823 ; the 
first is from Miss Humphrj' to Julia at Tonbridge : — 

" . . . Lady Camden wrote to my Mother last week offering her the use 
of her Carriage to take a drive round the Duchess' new roads & call on Ly. Aboyne ; 
as my Mother did not feel very well on that day she decHned. The following morning 
Lord Camden called again & said, altho' my Mother was not well enough to make 
a formal visit, they hoped she would come & partake a family Dinner at Wilderness 
& they would have no other Company. We accordingly dined there on Saturday 
& spent a very pleasant day ; I may say nothing could exceed the kind attentions 
of all the family. . . Mr. & Mrs. S. Woodgate are at the Grove for a few days; 
they went to Shooters Hill Monday se'nnight in their open carriage, when they 
both caught cold & have been so unwell that it put an end to their expected enjoy- 


The next is a reply to the foregoing letter, written from Tonbridge. 

" . . Since you heard from me I am commenced quite a gay character. . . . 

On Monday I dined & slept at Dry hill to meet Mr. Denny Ashburnham, & was much 
gratified by hearing him sing many of his favorite songs. Sir Willm's Health 
continues much the same ; from what I hear I imagine he has quite lost his Faculties 
& is reduced to a state of second childhood. Friday Evening I spent at the Postern. 
. . . Mrs. Francis Woodgate has called on us twice this week & really appears 
better ; little Stephen continues to go on favourably & every hope is entertained 
that he will do well. Mr. Harman is soon to leave Holmden ; the House in the 
Town has been painted & preparing for them, but I now hear he has obtained the 
refusal of Nisols, which will be more convenient for his business. The Lectures 
are to conclude this Evening ; the Funds are exhausted, therefore they are obliged 
to be discontinued. . . ." 

In August some of the family took lodgings in George Street, Hastings, from 
which the next letter is written on the 15 th. 

" My dear Fanny, 

After we parted at Tonbridge we had a most propitious journey and arrived 
at Hastings about four o'clock. Mr. West was waiting in the Town & very kindly 
conducted us to our new abode. We afterwards dined with Mr. & Mrs. West, who 
would take no excuse & insisted on all our Party's joining their Family circle. Our 
lodgings are very comfortable, the Bedrooms airy & fully answer our expectations. 
I am happy to inform you my Mother is quite well & enjoys walking on the Parade 
and the amusements of Hastings extremely. My Brother's health has already 
derived benefit & we hope the sea Breezes will have a most salutary effect on him ; 
he has not quite lost his Rheumatic Pains & therefore thinks of going into the warm 
Bath next week, which is strongly recommended to him by all his Friends. Mary- 
anne bathes every other morning. She goes into the sea with much courage & feels 
refreshed after it, therefore there is every reason to hope it will prove beneficial. 
I confess I was a little overcome by my first dip in the ocean, but soon recovered my 
courage & think I shall now enjoy it very much. Our friends from Crowhurst 
visited us on Saturday & on Tuesday Mr. & Mrs. Rush & Maryanne dined here ; 
they gave us a pressing invitation to visit them at Crowhurst, which we hope to do 
during our stay. Mrs. Rush expects the two Miss Claggetts to spend a fortnight 
with her in a few days. The Parade is very gay of an Evening, & we enjoy extremely 
walking on the Beach and inhahng the sea Breezes. Maryanne frequently mounts 
the Hills after bathing ; I do not always accompany her on these Rambles, as she 
ascends with much more facility than myself. I met Mr. Ashburnham yesterday 
morning. . . . Hastings is not so full as last year, & many Lodgings are to be 
Lett ; this is supposed to be occasioned by the lateness of the season and the falling 
of the cliff in the winter which spread an alarm & has sent many Families in Town, 
which were in the Habit of coming here, to other sea Places. We hear the Miss 
Millwards are gone to France for six weeks, & Mrs. North and her Family are staying 
at Tunbridge Wells Mr. & Mrs. West and their Party's Residence here are a great 
acquisition to us ; after walking on the Parade of an Eveng we frequently adjourn 
to each other's Lodgings when my Mother & my Brother have a sociable Rubber 
with them. Mr. & Mrs. Wills (Mrs. Whitaker's Neighbours) called on us last week ; 
she is a very pretty pleasing woman ; they are staying at Hastings for the benefit 
of her Health. Mrs. J. Ashburnham & her sweet little Boy have just paid us a visit. 
Sir Wm. was considered rather better this Morng. You would be amused to see 
William on the Parade ; he is in high Feather & makes new acquaintance every 

' ' Monday, Jany. 7th, 1824, [Seal], 
My dear Fanny, 

We were much concerned to hear of the indisposition of Fanny Woodgate 
& happy she is now recovering from the effects of it ; the postponement of the party 


at Greatness was a disappointment to our friends there, as well as ourselves, as you 
was included amongst the Guests invited. Julia dined there with Mr. Lipscomb 
& Mr. Auber, & my Mother & myself went in the evening. There was a fine dinner 
& it was a pity that more friends did not partake of it. We attended the New 
Years Ball on Thursday with Caroline Hardinge, her brother Richard, & Miss 
Papillon. The company present amounted to two hundred & fifteen, which exceeded 
by four the opening of the Ball room in 1819. Ld. Camden carried a party of fifteen, 
Lady Geary & her daughter, Mr. & Mrs. Choundney Deering &c. The young ladies 
left the room before supper, but Ld. Camden & his son remained. The Duchess 
& Ld. Whitworth came for a short time ; Miss Russel (whom you may remember) 
was with them, very fashionable & graceful in her appearance, and Mrs. & Miss 
Loyde. Lady Stanhope brought a Party of six ladies : Lady Harriet Neville with 
her Aunt were likewise present. The Ball was graced with numerous Belles, but 
Miss Harriet & Elizabeth Bisco were the most admired. Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Streat- 
feild (the bride) two sons & a daughter were there ; we were happy to meet Mrs. 
Streatfeild again, but thought her altered in appearance. Rosa Woodgate came 
from Greenwich with her Brother ; had her dress been handsomer, she would have 
appeared to more advantage altho' many thought her a fine Girl. Julia & myself 
enjoyed the ball exceedingly ; our party were extremely kind & attentive ; I declined 
dancing as the room was so warm, altho' frequently solicited for this purpose 

I must now tell you of a rumour that has reached us ; Sarah Woodgate [of River- 
hill] is said to be engaged to Mr. Lipscomb. We have it from no authority, but the 
report is very prevalent in the Neighbourhood. Mrs. Caroline Hardinge has not ventured 
out this Xmas. She has had several parties ; we attended one on Saturday where 
was Miss Burton, Miss Clements, Mr. Lambard & his daughters. Sir Richard Hardinge 
& Miss Taylor, Mr. Petley, Mrs. Nouaille & two sons. Mr. Irving is spending a few 
days at Wildernesse ; he call'd here Saturday. Mrs. Irving has recovered her health ; 
they have three children, the youngest (a boy) is nine months old. He has a charming 
situation in Dorsetshire, a good house, and his hving extends twelve miles ; it is 
distant twenty two miles from Weymouth & twelve from Pool. Our guests on 
Monday consisted of Uncle Henry, the Captain & Sarah [Woodgate], Caroline, Miss 
Papillon & Richard Hardinge, Mrs. Nouaille, Anne & Julius, & Mr. Whitehead. 
Our friends were very cheerful & seemed to enjoy themselves. My Mother did not 
dine below, which saved her fatigue & enabled her to enjoy a rubber in the evening. 
In enumerating our guests I forgot to name a Mr. Buttonshaw who came unexpectedly 
to Greatness ; as Mr. Nouaille went to Town that morning with his son Philip, Mrs. 
Nouaille of course brought him. He distinguished himself last year at the University, 
is gentlemanlike in his manners & intended for the Church. At present he takes 
pupils & Julius is one of the number. Mr. John Thompson performed the whole 
duty here on Sunday ; he preached an excellent sermon, "so teach us to number 
our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Ld. Camden admired it 
very much. . . . My Mother has sent my Brother & Sister her annual present 
of pork &c., which reached them in proper time ; they are aU well. . . . 

Maryanne Humphry." 

Mrs. Thomas Streatfeild was of Charts Edge ; she was a Miss Harvey and the 
widow of Henry Woodgate of Spring Grove. The rumour with reference to Sarah 
Woodgate proved well founded, for nine months later she was married to Mr, Lips- 
comb. The next letter is addressed to Miss Humphry at Tonbridge : — 

' ' Seal, Monday Morning, Febry. 9th, 1824. 

' ' We were happy to hear from Miss Callender yesterday so good an account 
of my Aunt & yourself. She tells us she has enjoyed many a pleasant walk with 
you during her stay with her sister at Tunbridge [Mrs. Charles Hardinge]. Mrs. 
Caroline Hardinge will be alone with Arthur for the next few days as her two young 
friends go to Maidstone this morning for a ball there to-morrow, & likewise to partake 
of other amusements. Julia, I beUeve, told you when she last wrote I was then 


at the Grove ; they were so kind to carry me to St. Clere, & I was much gratified 
in seeing the House (having never been there before), & it being a lovely morning 
CaroHne & I explored the garden, Greenhouses &c. , . . Mrs. Evelyn was very 
unwell with the gout in her right hand, & unable to dress or feed herself. Mrs. 
AUnutt spent two days at Greatness last week ; she drank tea here & at the Grove. 
Maria she said was quite well & anticipating much pleasure from Mr. Meggison's 
Ball which takes place to-night. Mrs. Lambard's family are going & likewise Mr., 
Mrs. & Miss Haranc. You perhaps heard that Mr. Herries was prevented acting as 
Steward at the last Sevenoaks ball, from the illness of his httle Girl ; she died at 
Montreal last week at the age of seven years. Mrs. Rush came to Greatness on 
Monday ; during her stay we had an evening party at Mrs. Nouaille's, here, and at 
the Grove. She went on Saturday to Feversham where Mr. Rush was to meet her 
& return with her to Crowhurst. A living has lately fallen to her eldest brother 
as canon of St. Paul's, & she tells me he is in expectation of another valuable piece of 
preferment. Her sister she likemse informed me is going to be extremely well 
married. Anne Nouaille is to make her a visit at Crowhurst with her Brother 
Peter in May. We think she seems rather tired of her present situation ; from 
the unfavourable state of the soil many months pass without her being able to get 
out or even take a walk, & this with a young family is a serious inconvenience. 
Lady Aboyne has lent her house at Godding for two or three months in the Spring 
to Capt. & Lady Mary Seymour, during which time the house at the Tan yard is to 
be prepared for their reception, & indeed I believe the Duchess & Ld. Whitworth 
have already begun the alteration ; with the improvements they propose making 
it will be made a better House than that at Godding, We grieve to hear Mrs. 
Francis Woodgate continues so great a sufferer. . . . We are glad Mr. & Mrs. 
James West were so fortunate in their weather when they visited the Metropolis ; 
William & Alicia I am sure enjoyed the theatre. While Julia & I were paying 
some visits last week with Caroline Hardinge at Mrs. Randolph's &c. Mrs. & Miss 
Harenc called upon my Mother ; she likes them very much & thinks Mrs. Harenc 
particularly agreable. I forgot to inform you they invited us with C. Hardinge 
to dine & go with them to the ball new years night. Dr. Slade is made dean of 
Chichester ; we hear from his retired habits this promotion does not yeald him 
much pleasure. We have just received a very kind invitation from my Uncle 
Henry to dine at River Hill Tuesday week & wch my Mother has accepted provided 
she continues pretty well. We are much concerned to hear the accounts of Fanny 
Woodgate are not more favour£ft)le, the sea air will we trust prove beneficial. . . . 

Maryanne Humphry." 

To this period probably must be assigned the following note addressed to Miss 
Humphry at Tonbridge : — 

' ' Sir Richard & Lady Hardinge are gone to Town for the winter. Miss Callendar 
accompanied them for three weeks, after which she returns to her sister. Maryanne 
& myself spent a very pleasant Eveng at Wilderness last Friday ; Lady Camden 
& her Daughters were very kind & obliging ; they shewed us several specimens of 
Piatt made from English Grasses, which it is thought will equal the Leghorn in beauty 
& durability, & if brought to perfection will prove a new acquisition to the manu- 
facturers of this country. Philip & Anne Nouaille drank tea with my Mother and 
Maryanne last night. They gave them every particular of the Postern dance, & 
it being so new a scene to them they appeared quite delighted with their Evening. 
Caroline Hardinge when in the North received a handsome present from her Mother, 
& during her last visit to town she purchased with it a Ruby Garnet necklace & 
cross, set in gold. It is exceedingly handsome & her Aunt tells her is too superb 
for a spinster. I was very glad to hear Mrs. Jas. West had again made her appearance 
at a Dance & hope Alicia derived much pleasure from it. Mrs. Lightfoot call'd 
yesterday ; she is staying with Mrs. Streatfeild with a large part of her Family. 
. . Juliana Humphry." 


' ' Seal, Monday Morning, March 15th, 1824. 
My dear Fanny, 

The visit of Sir William & his nephew James [West, junior] gave us 
all much pleasure. We regretted they were not prevailed on to stay all night, as they 
must have experienced a cold ride home. I was in great hopes of meeting with a 
cast to Tunbridge this week, & have sounded all my friends upon the subject. Caro- 
line Hardinge tells us that as Mrs. Stephen Woodgate has lost her poor baby, the 
carriage will probably soon go down for her to spend a Httle time at the Grove, & 
Mrs. Nouaille has for the last week wished to pass a day at the Postern, but having 
the two Boys still with her & three of her female servants about to quit, has not been 
able to carry her wishes into effect. Mr. Whitehead has decided upon taking a 
curate. . . . John Thompson paid us a visit on Wednesday of two hours. He 
seemed to lament deeply the loss of his little niece & said Mr. F. Woodgate had 
written a very feeling & consoling letter, which has contributed to sooth their 
minds on this trying occasion. Miss Fanny Thompson you will be sorry to hear 
is not in good health ; she has lately been staying with her cousin & is now on a visit 
at Lullingstone with Mrs. Twysden & two other young ladies, hkewise guests of Sir 
Thomas Dyke's. My Mother Thursday sen'night accompanied Mrs. Caroline Har- 
dinge to Sundridge, being anxious to see poor Lady Hardinge once more, who was 
much gratified with again seeing her. On Tuesday last we dined at the Grove 
with Sir Richd Hardinge ; his spirits appeared depressed with the sufferings of Lady 
Hardinge. Mrs. Caroline Hardinge & her niece went on Saturday to pass a week 
at Sundridge, we quite miss their society. We congratulate Mrs. West upon the 
improvement of Fanny Woodgate's health, & rejoice that Sir Astly Cooper has been 
so successful with his fair Patient. Tuesday week Julia & myself dined at Wilder- 
nesse & spent a sociable pleasant evening. After tea we had each the honour of 
playing two rubbers of short whist with his lordship ; they return to the country 
again at Easter. Mrs. Charles Petley is quite well ; we call'd on her last week. 
If they can let their house for three months, she wishes to go to Hastings for that 
period & as early as Easter for the benefit of sea air, Bathing &c. for the children. 
You have doubtless heard of Mr. Christopher Lipscomb's promotion, (it was quite 
unsolicited) ; his Brother at Sevenoaks has undertaken for the present the tuition 
of Mr. Polhill's sons. . . . Maryanne Humphry." 

The next letter contains an account of some negotiations conducted by Mrs. 
West for hiring some lodgings at Hastings for the Humphrys. The writer, Julia 
Humphry, continues (from Tonbridge, 15th July, 1824, to Miss Humphry) : — 

Mr. & Mrs. West &c. started for Hastings at six o'clock Thursday morning ; 
William West, Fanny & Rosetta accompanied them. The little Girls are to remain 
three weeks when Mrs. James West is to go down with Alicia ; Mrs. James West 
stays a few days or a week and Alicia is to continue with them till they return home. 
The School affairs are likely to be brought to a conclusion, in consequence of which 
Mr. Knox has taken a Degree of Doctor in Divinity at Oxford. I was rejoiced to 
hear that Maryanne finds Riding so beneficial ; perhaps when the weather is more 
temperate she may venture as far at Tunbridge. The Matrimonial mania appears 
to continue ; two more weddings are announced. Mr. Henry Streatfeild is to be 
married to a Mrs. Pepper, a young widow with a large Jointure, & Daughter to 
Mr. Dorien Maggens, and we understand Miss Emily Saint has accepted the Proposals 
of Mr. Tom May, and we hear Miss May is engaged to Mr. Cleughs, the late curate of 
Hadlow. Mr. Henry Streatfeild is anxious to hire a House in the neighbourhood 
of Chidingstone. It is said Mrs. Pepper has a Jointure of two thousand a year. 
I hope & trust the Seal Party experienced no ill effects from the tremendous storm 
of Wednesday night ; I considered myself fortunate to be returned from the Postern 
before the violence of it commenced. Mr. West writes word from Hastings that the 
damage there, in broken glass alone, amounts to a thousand Pounds. Our friends 
at Dryhill I believe go to Town this week. My Aunt & myself are to dine with Mrs. 


James West to-day, and as the time is nearly arrived for attending Church, I must 
conclude. . . . Juliana Humphry. 

I am just returned from Church and have been gratified by hearing Henry 
Woodgate, who read Prayers & Preached to a very full congregation. The tones 
of his voice are very pleasing, and in my opinion he reads and preaches with much 
feehng and good judgement but appears to have a weakness in his Lungs ; should 
his Health be strengthened, he will excel much in his Profession. He is certainly 
the handsomest young Man I ever saw in the Pulpit. His text was taken from the 
58th Psalm, ' ' Verily there is a reward for the righteous ; doubtless there is a God 
that judgeth the earth." 

His subsequent history was equally creditable to Julia Humphry's foresight 
and to Henry Woodgate, who, in an age of learned and eminent divines, proved 
himself one of the staunchest pillars of the Church. 

In August it would seem that Julia and Maryanne journeyed to Hastings to 
engage lodgings before the arrival of Mrs. Humphry and her eldest daughter, pending 
which they enjoyed the hospitality of the Wests. There is a long letter on the 
subject of lodgings, and the rent of those most suited to their requirements amounted 
to three and a half guineas a week. The lodgings they had procured for Mrs. Caroline 
Hardinge were rented at five guineas a week. Hastings was a favourite and fashion- 
able resort for the inhabitants of Tonbridge and the neighbourhood, and of those 
staying there the letter mentions Mrs. Thompson, Peter Nouaille and Dr. Rudge 
(who had preached several times and was expected to stay a month longer) ; the 
James Wests had lately departed. 

From a letter of this month we learn that Rosa Woodgate was about to leave 
her sister Mrs. Knox to make a visit at South Park and Pembury, and then to return 
to her aunt Mrs. Garthwaite, at Pilmore Hall, Durham. In October Julia was 
back again at Tonbridge, writing to Miss Humphry at Seal, on their return from 

" On Friday, the floods having subsided, I walked to the Postern. Mrs. 
Matthews & some of her grandchildren have been passing ten days there. Mrs. 
West expects her niece elect. Miss West [who was engaged to William Woodgate] 
this week for two days, before she leaves this Neighbourhood. Fanny Woodgate 
still complains of a little Cough ; Mr. Morris has recommended her being entirely 
clothed in fleecy hosiery, which she has adopted. She is looking particularly well, 
and is in excellent spirits, but is advised to be very careful of her health during the 
winter. . . . Now there are so many attractions at Seal, surely Mr. Hatch 
will reside more among his Parishioners. You must not omit to drink my Aunt's 
Health to-morrow, when she will attain her 85th year. I have written this under 
many interruptions ; Willm. West has spent the evening here. . . . 

Juliana Humphry." 

The following letter, undated, must be attributed to this period. It is addressed 
from Tonbridge, by Julia : — 
" My dear Fanny, 

. . . I dined with Mrs. Hardinge on Tuesday ; Mrs. MacLeod, Miss Warde, 
a Scotch lady & Miss Yates formed the Party. Miss Yates is very conversable & 
pleasing, & in her manner reminded me of our former friend Mrs. Green. I was 
glad the weather proved so favourable for Mrs. Wm. Humphry & her little companions ; 
give my love to Richard & tell him I shall be quite disappointed if I do not hear 
he is a good Boy. I spent a very sociable day at the Postern on Friday with James 
& Alicia West ; the floods last week have seriously injured Mr. West's crops of grass. 
Mr. & Mrs. West are going to Hastings next week to take Lodgings ; Miss Gunning 
leaves them to-morrow. Mr. Knox performed the whole duty here to-day, both 
morning & afternoon. I imagine Mr. & Mrs. Hardinge are gone to Sundridge. I 
am going to Drink tea with Mrs, Jas. West, & have written this in great haste since 

church. Mr. & Mrs. Millwaxd [of Hastings] were at Church here this morng with 
the Miss Eyles. . , ." 

" 5th Novr. 1824. [Tonbridge]. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . I had an invitation last Thursday to dine with Mrs. Luxford ; Mr. & 
Mrs. H. Curteis, Mrs. Maskell & Miss Jemmet were staying in the House. I regretted 
not being able to accept it but we were engaged to drink tea at the Vicarage to meet 
Mrs. Flint. To-morrow I am to accompany our friends at the Postern to Penshurst 
to go over Penshurst Place, after which we are to dine at South Park ; I anticipate 
much Pleasure from this Excursion. Mr. & Mrs. Carnell have lately been passing 
a week at Hastings. Little Mary Scoones continues to go on well ; she told her Aunt 
the happiest day she had passed since she left Hastings was at Mrs. Humphry's, 
& that she never should forget the many entertaining stories told her by Miss Mary- 
anne. Anna Woodgate is full of engagements, & had scarcely time to call on Mrs. 
Carnell. Hastings is full of Company & nearly every Lodging is occupied. I am 
sure my Mother will be concerned to hear of the death of her old friend Mr. Henry 
Bishop ; he died last week after a short illness. . . . Juliana Humphry." 

" Sunday, Nov. i6th, 1824, 
My dearest Mother, 

. . . James West drank tea with us on Monday. He mentioned having 
met Mr. Hatch, & I am anxious to hear your's and my sisters account of your new 
neighbour. I understand his manner is not particularly graceful. I spent a 
pleasant day at South Park yesterday sennight & was much gratified by going over 
Penshurst Place ; many of the finest pictures have recently been cleaned and a good 
portrait in crayons of Mr. P. Sydney lately arrived from Town. Miss Sydney is 
still in France. Mrs. West purposes spending a few days at Greatness in the course 
of ten days or a fortnight & has kindly promised me a conveyance of which I shall 
most gladly avail myself. She devotes one day for visiting Mrs. Streatfeild at 
Charts Edge, and another for seeing her Seal Friends. Miss Ward leaves Mrs. West 
at Xmas ; she has had several applications & is in treaty for a situation with a Lady 
in Hertfordshire. ... I imagine James informed you that Mrs. Jas. West 
has engaged a Governess ; she is not an accomplished woman, but has an excellent 
Recommendation from the Lady she has just quitted. I was glad to hear a few 
days ago that a Gentleman was in treaty & likely to engage Spring Grove. I called 
at Penshurst with Mrs. West on Tuesday ; Mrs. Springet and three of her children are 
staying at the Postern. I am to drink tea with Mrs. Knox on Tuesday, and as it is 
a formal Invitation imagine their usual rout will then take place. Miss Callender 
is staying at Fairlawn ; Mrs. Yates is recovering from her late illness. . . . Mr. 
Francis [Woodgate] has just been here & mentioned the report of an unpleasant 
Robbery at Fawke, which if correct must have distressed poor Mrs. Thompson 
exceedingly. . , . Juhana Humphry." 

' ' Monday Morning, 8 December [1824] 
My dear Julia, 

. . . Mr. & Mrs. S. Woodgate with their family took leave of the Grove 
on Friday, leaving Jane behind for a week or ten days to profit by the instructions 
of Mr. Gibbon. I dined at the Grove (en famille) Wednesday ; the day previous 
they had spent at Fairlawn. They appeared much gratified with their day & the 
blind Miss Yates presented Mrs. Hardinge with a beautiful silver purse, a most 
extraordinary production to be accomphshed by anyone labouring under the severe 
afiliction she experiences. Your account of Mr. Hatch solved the mystery of his 
not residing at Seal ; every one laments that a young man so highly gifted by nature 
& so much admired in the Church should by early imprudence have placed himself 
in so embarrassing & painful a situation. Miss Burton paid us a visit on Thursday; 
that morning she had heard from Lady Burton particulars of the devestation occa- 
sioned at Hastings by the late storm, an account of which has doubtless reached 


you from Sir W. Ashburnham. I forgot to mention when speaking of our friends 
at the Grove that Caroline is going to day to Maidstone for a week, when Fanny 
Papillon is to supply her place, after which she goes with her Aunt to Town to stay 
with Sir Richard till the day before Xmas day. . . Maryanne Humphry." 

" Tunbridge, Deer. 19th, 1824. 
My dear Fanny, 

Sir William Ashburnham & his two nephews left Dryhill yesterday for Bromham ; 
they went down in the new carriage which came from Town the eveng before & is very 
handsome. Sir William was fully engaged during his stay. He called on all his 
Friends & Relations in this Neighbourhood & on Wednesday James drove him to 
Pembury in his way to the Wells. Stephen was not at home but Mrs. Stephen 
received him & introduced him to the whole of her Family, her elder sons being 
just arrived from School. I know you will be glad to hear that the Skinners have 
empowered Dr. Knox to elect James West to an Exhibition, therefore his going to 
college is now decided on. Dr. Knox has behaved in the handsomest and most 
friendly manner on the occasion. I spent a pleasant Eveng with Mr. & Mrs. Knox 
on Tuesday ; Mr. & Mrs. Hardinge, Miss Callendar, Sir William & his Nephew & a small 
Party dined there. A party of two & twenty assembled at the Postern on Thursday 
Eveng ; the company were amused with cards, dancing and musick which was 
kept up with much spirit till twelve o'clock. Mr. & Mrs. West & Fanny did all 
in their power to entertain their Guests & it was a very lively pleasant meeting. 
My Aunt was much obliged to my Mother for some nice sausages which reached 
her by Penfold on Wednesday. Mr. Luxford's sale went off extremely well & the 
Furniture in general sold at an high price. I attended with a Party on Wednesday 
but the Ladies found it so little entertaining that we did not stay more than half 
an hour. James & William West are to spend a fortnight or three weeks at Broomham, 
& Sir William is to pass a few days again with his sister either the middle or end of 
next month. Miss Harvey called on Maryanne Tuesday while we were at Dry 
hill. . . . Juliana Humphry." 

This exhibition to which James John West was elected was worth £100 a year 
for four years ; it was one of the new Judd Exhibitions, and James West was the 
first holder of it. He also obtained a scholarship at Jesus College, Cambridge, 
to which place he went in 1825. 

" Seal, Febry. i6th. 1825. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . The Weather was so fine last week that my Mother was induced on 
Thursday to make a few Morning visits. We called at Knole, Ly. Abo5me's & 
Fairlawn. The Duchess was not at home which was quite a disappointment, as 
we hoped to have been favoured with a sight of her Orangery. Ly. Aboyne received 
us most graciously, & told my Mother she had been meditating whether she might 
take the liberty of first calling on her. You will be surprized to see how pretty 
she is making her Place ; a new approach to the House through the Hop Garden 
is a great improvement. We were unfortunate in not finding any of the family 
at Fairlawn at home ; Mrs. Yeates with Miss Peel & Miss E. Yeates returned the 
visit on Monday & expressed much regret that they did not see us. I fear we shall 
soon lose Mr. Hatch ; Mr. Whitehead a short time since intimated that he should 
be happy to enter into a permanent engagement, provided he would reside more 
here. To this he assented ; however when he next came to Seal he proposed to 
Mr. W. an exchange with his brother Charles, who he said would be very glad to 
take the Curacy & reside (with one of his sisters) in Mr. W's. house. Although we 
have heard so high a character of this young Man, we cannot repress a feeling of 
regret at parting with our comparatively old friend ; he performs the Sunday service 
so well that he will be a great loss in the Church which is always well attended, & 
the unfortunate predicament in which he is placed appears to create additional interest 


among his female parishioners. Mr. W. said he made no disclosure to him, but 
appeared a good deal agitated when he communicated the Proposal. My Mother 
has engaged a brother of Robert's to supply his place ; he is rather young for the 
situation, but Robert gives so favourable a report of his steadiness & good conduct 
& appears so confident he will suit that we are induced to try him. . . . We 
have had several evening visits since I last wrote among our httle circle. Miss 
Warde spent two days last week at the Grove & afterwards went to Wilderness for 
the same period. She called one morning with Caroline and we thought her very 
agreable. Tell James with my love that I am happy to hear he is persuing his 
studies with so much avidity, from which there is no doubt he will hereafter derive 
much advantage. Mrs. Nouaille is just arrived for Church, I must therefore con- 
clude, &c Frances Humphry. 

Sir Thomas Lennard's eldest son is about to form a second matrimonial engage- 
ment with Miss Sheddon, a young Lady of good fortune, I believe an only daughter 
of Sir Robert Sheddon." 

The following letter, undated, must be attributed to this period. 
" My dear Julia, 

. . . Anna Woodgate is sta3dng at Greatness ; she dined here Monday 
with Anne Nouaille. Altho' she has so many kind friends at Hastings, she tells 
us she has left it as a residence, finding it too relaxing a situation for her health. 
It is not at present decided where she is to fix her future abode. You will see her 
soon as she goes to her sister Mrs. Knox to-morrow. The only Hastings news she 
imparted is that Mr. Frederick North is engaged to be married to Mrs, Shuttleworth, 
a handsome agreable young Widow of about 30 with one little girl. This lady 
has a jointure of ;^3,ooo a year, half of which she rehnquishes on a second marriage. 
I was quite sorry to hear this intelligence, as you know we had set our minds on his 
being our future cousin. 

Mrs. Hardinge told my Mother on Sunday that Sir Richard's intended match 
is at an end, I beheve in consequence of some difficulty respecting settlements. 
As the gentleman appears disposed to marry again, perhaps he is not hkely to form 
a more desirable connexion. I will thank you not to mention this till you hear 
it from other quarters. Miss E. Yeates (with her cousin, a Miss Burton) favoured 
us with a second visit last week and was very conversable and agreable. Anne 
Nouaille is looking forward with the greatest delight to the Ball ; our young friends 
are so desirous for us to be present that I have promised to comply with their wishes. 
Maryanne is a Httle doubtful but I think she will also be there ; and it would afford 
us the utmost pleasure to meet you in the ball room. Should you however not 
feel disposed to add to the number of BeUes, if you do not think the request too 
unreasonable, perhaps you would again favour me with the loan of yr wreath,& I 
wd return it by Mrs. West the following day, but believe me I had much rather 
see it ornament yr head on that evening than my own. 

We saw a good deal of Mr. H. Thursby during his stay at the Grove ; he is 
remarkably well informed and good humoured, but has a good deal of singularity 
in his appearance & manner for a young man that has lived so much in the world. 
He assisted Mr. Hatch twice in the Duty ; he read very agreably but his voice is 
not sufficiently powerful for our Church. Mr. & Mrs. Petley & Mr. & Mrs. Lips- 
comb have lately favoured us with morning visits. It is whispered that you are 
to have a dance at Mrs. F. Woodgate's in the course of Easter week. Carohne 
Hardinge goes to Lady Geary Wednesday for the Maidstone Ball & stays at Oxen- 
hoath the remainder of the week. I hope you was not the worse for yr walk to the 
Miss Eyles's ; we feared it might be a little too much for you. . . . 

Frances Humphry." 


" Tonbridge, March 8th, 1825. 
My dear Fanny, 

. . . Mr. James West and James went to Meopham last Sunday to spend 
the day with Mr. John Thompson & returned the following morning. You will 
be glad to hear that James is entered at Jesus CoUedge Cambridge. He is much pleased 
with this arrangement and as his destination is finally fixed, it will I hope have the 
effect of steadying his mind & inducing more regular habits of application. I imagine 
you have heard the particulars of the Tunbridge Ball from Anne Nouaille. The 
Stewards obtained great applause ; yr absence was much regretted by all your 
Friends & Maryanne was considered a great loss among the Belles. It passed off so 
well that I believe it will be the prelude to regular Balls being established here. 
Between ourselves I think it would have been as well had this been deferred till 
Easter, as being a more proper season for indulging in musical gaieties. I have 
now another gay meeting to relate to you. Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Scoones gave their 
first Party last Monday : the Invitations were very numerous & nearly fifty persons 

attended and most of the Leigh neighbourhood, & Mr. & Mrs. . Mr. Scoones' 

office was appropriated for dancing, after which the Company partook of a most 
elegant supper. I assure you I have not for a long time passed a pleasanter Evening. 
Captn. Scoones is a great favorite with the young Ladies & indeed the universal 
politeness and attention of his manners in my opinion renders him very deservedly 
so. He leaves this winter in a very short time for America. Mr. & Mrs. Scoones 
sent an invitation to the Miss Humphry's, but as you declined coming to the Ball 
I did not forward it to Seal Mrs. Hardinge & Miss Callender in consequence of the 
recent death of Mrs. Flint have declined attending these meetings. How do Sir 
Richd. Hardinge's Family approve of the matrimonial step he is about to take ? 
Perhaps if he must form a second connexion of this nature it is more suitable than a 
younger lady. Mr. Wilgress told me that Sir Richard had announced this event 
to the Duchess of Dorset, and mentioned that Mrs. Shepherd has a jointure of three 
thousand a year, half of which she relinquishes by a second marriage, therefore 
she wiU pay a high price for her title. Was not you surprized to hear of Mrs. Wood- 
gate's attending the Ball ? She was likewise at Mrs. Scoones' but appeared to be 
in a fitter state to have been in Bed. We had a visit on Sunday from Miss Eyles 
& her niece ; they are just returned from Brighton where they have been passing 

six weeks. Miss Louisa was staying in Surrey with Mr. & Mrs. Benson 

Mr. & Mrs. West & Fanny went to Town on Tuesday, they purpose returning before 
Easter ; as Fanny's health has not been quite regijlar of late, Mrs. West intends 
taking her to Mr. Clarke for the benefit of his advice. James West has taken his 
Horse into the stable, and as it will soon be in riding order he intends taking an 
early opportunity of paying a visit to his friends at Sed. My Aunt has received 
a small piece of wedding cake from Capt. & Mrs. J. Woodgate. . . . 

Juliana Humphry. 

I have just received your kind note for which accept my best thanks. . You 
may recoUect that Mrs. Shepherd had some years ago the Manor House at Sevenoaks 
for a few months, & I believe Caroline Hardinge has been in the habit of attending 
Balls at her House in Town. Her age is said to be nearly fifty and that she is a 
fashionable handsome woman for her time of life." 

The next letter, by Juha Humphry, tho' undated, must have been written in 
April, the month that she received proposals of marriage from Sir William Ash- 
' ' My dear Fanny, 

. . . Sir William Ashburnham went to Town last Tuesday. We saw him 
frequently during his stay. He remains in town for a fortnight ; you will frequently 
see his name in the Paper as he purposes attending several Public meetings. He 
proceeds to Ditchling to visit his Brother Denny & on his return is to pass a few 
days with his sister, if he does not before that time take his departure for Brighton. 


Sir Willm has made his niece Alicia a present of two beautiful diamond Rings. 
The diamonds belonged to his Aunt Margaret ; they are beautifully set & I imagine 
form a part of Miss Ailing's rejected presents. The Baronet made many enquiries 
after his Seal friends & requested me to convey to them his very kindest Respects. 
I hear Anna Woodgate is gone to South Park, I have not seen her since you left 
Tonbridge. Nothing further has transpired with respect to Mrs. Knox's Party. 
The Skinners' day is fixed for the 17th of May, on which day I think it not unlikely 
that it may take place, when I hope one at least of my fair sisters will make it con- 
venient to attend. Captn. & Mrs. Streatfeild came to Tunbridge last Tuesday 
and returned the following day ; unfortunately poor Mrs. Francis [Woodgate] was 
so unwell as to be confined to her Room, and could have no enjoyment from their 
Society. They favoured us with a sociable visit and Anne was enjoying good Spirits. 
We had also a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Petley the beginning of the week. . . The 
post this morning brought me a long and entertaining letter from Fanny Woodgate; 
she has not partaken of any gayety since she has been in Town, her time being 
entirely engaged with Masters. She has one for Musick, Dancing, Drawing, and 
Perspective, but hopes to be rewarded for her Industry before she leaves the Metropolis 
by partaking some of the public amusements. She desires her kindest love to her 
Aunt Humphry & cousins at Seal. We hear from Sir Willm. that sixty new Houses 
are to be begun this Spring at Hastings near the White Rock ; his brother George 
has agreed for a Piece of Ground, adjoining Mr. Camack's, for which he is to give 
the enormous price of eight hundred pounds, & purposes erecting another House. 
The rumour of Mr. F. North's intended marriage with Mrs. Shuttleworth is confirmed ; 
Captn. Streatfeild is well acquainted with her & describes her at a fascinating woman 
in Appearance & manner, but her age cannot be less than five & thirty. . . Mr. 
Hardinge has been confined with a bad cold, & in consequence of the Indisposition 
of the other clergymen Dr. Knox has performed the whole Duty for the last Sunday, 
& altho the cause is to be regretted his Discourses are so excellent & his delivery 
so impressive that it has been a great gratification to all the congregation. 

Juliana Humphry." 

In April a great event took place in the Himiphry family. It is referred to in 
the following note : — 

" Saturday Eveng. 
My dear Fanny, 

A circumstance has occurred this Morning which makes me very anxious to see 
my dear Mother, & having no other way for accomplishing it, I have engaged the 
Fly to convey me to Seal to-morrow ; I purpose starting from Tunbridge at nine 
o'clock & hope to reach Seal between ten and eleven, and now give you a line to 
apprize you of my Intention, that yourself and Maryanne may not go to Kempsing 
Church, as I wish for an opportunity without the Interruption of visitors of talking 
over an affair of considerable Importance. Do not be alarmed as I trust it will not 
be of an unpleasant nature, but I shall reserve all further communication on the 
subject till we meet. I received dr. Maryanne's note this morning & am concerned 
to find the expectation of complaisant visitors will prevent us the Pleasure of seeing 
her at Tunbridge next week. If not very Inconvenient perhaps you would return 
with me to-morrow for a few days, being much in need of your judicious advice at this 
time. I must now bid you adieu for this Evening, & with our kind love to the Seal 
circle. Believe me, dr. Fanny, yr truly affectionate 

Juliana Humphry. 

My Aunt has been reading my Note. She says I have not sufficiently explained 
the object of my visit, and desires me to add there is not the smallest cause for 

The nature of this matter is explained by the following note to Sir William 
Ashbumham at Broomham : — 


" Dry Hill Lodge, April 30th, 1825. 
My dear Brother, 

As I consider it cruel to keep any person in suspense, & more particularly a 
Lover, I hasten to inform you that my dear Julia called here about an hour after you 
left us, & I presented your letter into the fair hands of the object of your affections, 
& I have the satisfaction to say she appeared to receive it most cordially, which I 
consider as a most favourable omen to you. I cannot say when you will receive her 
answer but I imagine as soon as she has heard from Mrs. Humphry. As I find 
myself rather feeble this evening I must now conclude with most ardently wishing 
you every success & happiness in the prospect before you. I remain, my dear 
Brother, most affectionately yours, 

Alicia West." 

An offer from a man of such admirable parts and unexceptionable circumstances 
could not be refused, but for further particulars of this affair the reader is referred 
to p. 86. Juha Humphry's next letter to her sisters is dated the 13th May : — 

" ... Sir William Ashburnham returned from Town yesterday & spent 
the Evening with us last night when he communicated to me his Intentions with 
respect to his Future Establishment. He has at present only two Female Servants, 
which he considers will be very insufficient for the size of his House, and therefore 
intends engaging two more ; one, as he kindly expressed, to wait upon me and to 
take some part in the Household work, the other as Housemaid. I hinted to him 
from the manner in which I had been brought up that little attendance on me would 
be necessary, but he appeared to think from his station in society an Establishment 
of two Men and four Female servants was indispensible, and therefore wishes me to 
engage two Domesticks from the Neighbourhood of Seal. He mentioned that Mrs. 
Homes had been in his Family for twenty seven years, and unless it was my particular 
request should feel much regret at parting with her. The dairy maid he also wishes 
to retain. I am sure I never can be sufficiently grateful for the kindness, liberality, 
& Feeling he evinces, and the manner in which he consults my future comfort. It 
is my Intention to return home by the Fly on Thursday Morning. Sir William goes 
to Broomham to day to meet a Gentleman who is surveying his Estate, now on Sale ; 
he comes to Tunbridge again on Tuesday to be present at the Skinners' Meeting and 
intends himself the pleasure of dining with my Mother on Thursday. He is obliged 
to be in Town on Friday morning & therefore purposes sleeping at the Crown, 
Sevenoaks, to be in readiness to start by the first coach. I have entered into these 
Particulars that my dear Mother and yourselves may have an opportunity of con- 
sidering the subject, as Sir Willm wishes it to be finally arranged on Thursday, but 
I must request you not to mention it again till after our meeting. Mrs. Knox called 
yesterday to offer her congratulations & to invite us to drink Tea with her on Tuesday, 
which I have accepted for Maryanne & myself, & shall be greatly disappointed if she 
is prevented coming to Tunbridge on that day. Alicia West is also to accompany 
us. The Gentlemen dine after the Recitations at the School & therefore Mrs. Knox 
was doubtful whether they wd join the Party, but at all events M.A. had better 
bring an Evening Dress. My Aunt & myself spent the Morning with Mrs, Jas. West 
on Wednesday. Mrs. Bailey has also called to offer her good Wishes & said she cd 
wish me no greater Happiness in the union than what she experienced with Mr. 
Bailey. Mr. and Mrs. Hardinge & Miss Callender are gone to town for ten days to 
meet Mrs. Callender. I had a most kind note from Mrs. Hardinge before her 
departure, and a gratifying letter from Mrs. Lipscomb reached me this morning. 
Although I am looking forward to the prospect of Future Life, yet I really feel much 
regret at leaving Tunbridge, more especially on quitting my Aunt, from whom for 
so many years I have experienced such uninterrupted kindness. 

I have just received your kind note by Mrs. S. Woodgate. I am to dine with 
Mrs. F. Woodgate to morrow (en Famille) when I will make the request to Mr. F. 
Woodgate, & should feel grateful to Peter NouaiUe if he will allow his name to be 


made use of as the other Trustee. The Perusal of my Brother's Letter has completed 
my Happiness & I shall have much Pleasure in making him a visit. Would it be 
proper for me to write to him or Mrs. Wm, Humphry ? Will you have the goodness 
to inform me by Penfold at what hour Mrs. Nouaille's Party will be at Tunbridge on 
Tuesday next." . . . 

The following letter is undated, but must have been written about the same 
time : — 

' ' Seal, Monday Morning. 
My dear Julia, 

Among the various occupations consequent to a late Event, I must not omit to 
address a few lines to one the most deeply interested in the present proceedings. 
Sir Wm. Ashbumham's visit to Seal was productive of the utmost satisfaction. 
Altho' I know to you it is a consideration of comparatively trifling importance, yet 
we think it right you should be acquainted with the extent of his hberality. Sir Wm. 
adhears to his first proposal, & thinks that 500 pr. annum is as little as his widow 
ought to possess as a jointure, & much regrets he cannot make it more. He also 
-particularly requests that the Interest of the fortune you will inherit from our dear 
departed Father may after his decease & my dear Mother's augment the amount of 
your jointure ; and adds ' ' that you are satisfied with this settlement evinces that 
moderation which is only one among your numerous good qualities." My Mother 
told him how much she regretted she could not do more at present than add 500 to 
the same sum you at present possess, & even this trifling addition he was very 
unwilling for her to relinquish. How happy are you, my dear Julia, to possess the 
affections of a man of such exalted worth & liberal sentiments ; & how proud shall 
I feel to style him Brother. I can only say I hope (and believe I may add with confi- 
dence that I think) you will not prove undeserving of such an inestimable treasure. 

I wrote to Sir Wm. yesterday to state that in consequence of our long acquaintance 
with Mr. Scoones and his family, we thought it would be agreable to your wishes 
that he should act as yr professional Agent on the present occasion ; & at the request 
of tJie said Sir Wm., I am to write to Mr. Scoones on the subject in the name of my 
Mother by this night's post. My uncle Henry [Woodgate] who was here yesterday 
thinks a more proper person could not have been fixed on to make yx marriage 
settlement ; he likewise said he believed only one Trustee was necessary on your 
part, & that he could answer for his son's being happy to act on the occasion. My 
Mother wrote to my Uncle on Saturday & he lost no time in coming over to offer his 
congratulations ; he expressed the most heartfelt pleasure & was so much affected as 
to shed tears. As the Post does not go up on a Saturday my Mother could not 
inform my Brother till last Night, & we sincerely hope he will partake the feelings 
of his family on the occasion. You could not fail to have been gratified at the 
pleasure expressed by all your friends to whom this Event has been announced. Mrs. 
Nouaille and all her family were profuse in their good wishes, Mrs. Hardinge & 
Caroline delighted ; Mrs. Hardinge said she loved us all as her children & hopes Sir 
Wm., on whom she passed the highest encomiums, will allow her to consider him as 
belonging to her family. Indeed my paper would be filled were I to relate the kind 
expressions used by all your friends on the occasion. . . . Frances Humphry." 

Julia Humphry's fortune in possession consisted of ^^500 in the Three Per Cents 
under the will of her father, besides which she was entitled under the same will on 
the decease of her mother to one-third of her father's real estate and one-third of her 
father's residuary personal estate ; and was also entitled to some property under 
her parents' marriage settlement and certain contingent interests under the wills of 
her Aunts Ann and Sarah Woodgate. To this Mrs. Humphry added ^(500, and the 
whole seems to have been settled upon her on her marriage. She subsequently 
derived some benefit under her mother's will. There is in existence a letter from 
William Scoones referring to the settlement : — 


" Tonbridge, 6th July, 1825. 
Dear Miss Humphry, 

To the disappointment which the parties may have felt in the alteration of the 
day for executing the deeds I must add my own, as it prevents me the pleasure I 
had anticipated in a visit to Seal on this occasion. My Brother has undertaken to 
attend to the business and takes with him the Deed between yourself and your 
Sisters for making the share of each in the property a vested interest which I have 
examined. With every good wish for the happiness of your sister & Sir W. 
Ashburnham, I remain, Dear Madam, your faithful & obedt. Servant, 

Willm. Scoones." 

This Deed was necessary to make vested Julia Humphry's reversionary interest 
under her father's will, which was liable to be defeated upon her death 
without issue in Mrs. Humphry's lifetime. This agreement also comprised the con- 
tingent legacies of £800 and £900 under the wills of Ann and Sarah Woodgate. Mr. 
Scoones' brother was John Scoones, and the firm was conducted under the style of 
W. and J. Scoones. The crest used by this family was a griffin's head. The settle- 
ment of the Broomham property, on the part of Sir WilHam Ashburnham, is suffici- 
ently mentioned on p. 87. 

The next communication is from Maryanne Humphry, addressed to Julia at 
Tonbridge : — 

' ' Wednesday Morng. 

Altho', my dear Julia, your mind is doubtless much occupied at this time, yet 
a few lines from Seal will, I trust, not prove unacceptable. It is really very grati- 
fying to reflect how much all your friends appear to participate in your present 
happiness, & the heartfelt pleasure they all express in your approaching Union with 
so excellent & esteemed a man as Sir Wilham Ashburnham. Mr. John Thompson 
paid us a visit yesterday morning ; he requested if there was a vacant niche in our 
letter when we wrote to you ' ' to present his very best wishes & to assure Miss Julia 
that her happiness would not be forgotten in his prayers." Fanny has received a 
letter from Mr. W. Scoones this morning in reply to one addressed to him on Monday ; 
he appears much gratified with the confidence you have placed in him on this occasion 
& desires her to make you his best acknowledgments. 

We received a long letter from Mrs. W. Humphry yesterday evidently 
written before my Mother's communication had reached them, containing a very kind 
& urgent request from both my Brother & herself for my Mother and two of us to 
make them a visit, either the end of this month or the beginning of the next. My 
Brother is now at Hampstead for the benefit of the air before he returns to the office 
& some of the family are with him ; the change has already proved beneficial & he 
preferred this place to pass a week or two as much more convenient than coming to 
Seal, from its near vicinity to his office. Our friends at the Grove, including Mrs. 
Allnutt & Mr. Whitehead, drank tea with us last night ; at the request of our Mother 
I communicated to this latter Gentleman on Sunday the change about to take place 
in your situation. He wished you joy on the occasion & was happy to hear of an 
event that gave satisfaction to Mrs. Humphry & her family. I should like much, 
my dear Julia, to come & see my Aunt & you on Tuesday with Mrs. Nouaille, but 
am not sure but their carriage may be filled on that day, as Philip does not go to 
Town till next week. . . . Maryanne Humphry." 

The wedding was at Seal on the 7th July, and the Rev. John Ashburnham 
performed the service. Henry Woodgate, Mary Anne and Frances Humphry, and 
Alicia Amy West (one of the bridesmaids) signed the register. A letter from Mrs. James 
West, written two days before the event, gives some idea of the kind of dresses that 
were worn on such occasions : — 

My dear Julia, " Dry Hill Lodge, July 5th, 1825. 

You would have heard from Alicia on Monday according to promise had my 


dress &c., arrived from Town, but Miss Attree could not get my order completed to 
send till last evening. I am happy to add she has executed them entirely to my 
approbation & above all to my Brother's taste. My Lace Dress is made with full top 
resembling a French one and long sleeves ; she has sent me the same sort of feather 
in my Bonnet as yours. This was not my order as I left everything to her taste, you 
must therefore not he angry at my having the same plumes as yourself. Miss Attree 
has sent me a mob Cap to wear with my Bonnet, & as I thought you wou'd like to 
know the shape I have enclosed you a paper pattern. I perceive Miss Attree's taste 
& my own accord, as she has put a blond lace on my cap instead of a quilling. I 
have the pleasure to tell you my Brother of aU things admires your Bridesmaid's 
attire. . . . Alicia West." 

A detailed account of the reception at Broomham of the bride and bridegroom 
is to be found on p. 88 under " Ashburnham." 

" Seal, July 19th, 1825. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . Our Seal Festivity's did not end with your Nuptial Day, for on Thursday 
last Mrs. Hardinge invited a large Party in honour of the occasion, & after dinner the 
Health of Sir William & Lady Ashburnham was drank with much pleasure by all the 
Company present. Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Woodgate were spending a day or two at 
the Grove & likewise Miss Papillon & Miss Cook (who is daughter of the Professor of 
that name). This Lady entertained the company with several sweet and pleasing 
airs, after which a quadrille followed, to the no small satisfaction of the younger part 
of the Guests that were assembled. Mrs. James West spent the morning here on 
Thursday & kindly left Alicia with us ; she appears very happy & we find her so agre- 
able an inmate that we shall be quite sorry when the day arrives to part with her. 
As Sir William informed my Mother you intended going to Church on Sunday, you 
have probably before this received visitors. All the families we visit in the neigh- 
bourhood have called, gentlemen as well as ladies. I am sure you must find the 
House at Brome Ham delightful during this sultry weather ; we have been quite 
banished from the Drawing room during the last week, but our Book room is cool & 
pleasant. Anne Nouaille passed the evening here yesterday. There was a cricket 
match on the Vine Saturday between the Sevenoaks & Tunbridge Gentlemen, when 
the latter were victorious, & I understand our friend James did not exult a little 
that his party gained the Palm of Victory. We hear Lady Caroline Pratt is to be 
married this week, & the ceremony to be performed at St. George's Church, 
Hanover Sqre. Sir Thomas Lawrence is now painting a portrait of the Bride elect. 
We were glad to hear the plants arrived in safety ; the carrier Waters quite entertained 
us with the account of his journey & he seemed much elated with the kindness & 
good cheer he received at Brome Ham. I hope for the credit of Seal that the Damsels 
you took from here will turn out well. . . . Maryanne Humphry," 

On ist September Miss Humphry paid a visit to Broomham, and Maryanne was 
left alone with her Mother. We have a letter from her to Rose Woodgate : — 

" Seal, Wednesday Morning, Sep, 8th, 1825, 
My dear Aunt, 

My Brother & his eldest son have been with us since Thursday sennight ; the 
former appears already benefited by his native air, & can now walk for two miles 
without much apparent fatigue. Our nephew William is a remarkably good Boy & 
so tractable & accomodating that I shall be quite sorry when the time comes for 
him to quit Seal. . . . Mr. Harenc of Sevenoaks has been dangerously ill & 
attended by two Physicians ; he is a little better & pronounced out of danger. The 
morning preceding the departure of Mrs. Hardinge for Hastings she received a letter 
to announce the death of Lady Jane James, sister to Lord Camden, & who I believe 
had been in declining health for some time. I hope Mrs. Francis Woodgate continues 
tolerably well, remember us kindly to her when you next see Mr. Francis. I hear 


Mr. Simpson has left Tunbridge, & is succeeded by a Mr. Powell. Mrs. Nouaille has 
received favours & wedding cake from Mr. Edward Rudge who was lately married at 
Marybone Church [to Miss Van Notten-Pole] ; he with his bride are gone to pass 
the next year at Florence & Pisa. Mr. & Mrs. Willm. Woodgate intend to visit 
several of their relatives as soon as they return from the Isle of Wight. . . ." 

In November Maryanne paid her sister a visit at Broomham. Miss Humphry 
writes : — 

" Seal, Nov. 9th, 1825. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . ' ' Mr. Warton, the gentleman that succeeds Mr. Hatch as curate here, 
is much approved ; he has not the naturally fine voice of Mr. Hatch but he reads with 
great feeling & has given us two beautiful & impressive sermons. Mrs. Hardinge & 
Caroline have just been sitting an hour with us. They expect Mr. & Mrs. Stephen 
Woodgate & their four youngest children to day to pass a fortnight with them. We 
met Sir Henry & Lady EmUy Hardinge at the Grove one evening before they left 
the Neighbourhood ; Mr. & Mrs. Charles Hardinge succeeded them & are now staying 
with Sir Richard at Sundridge. . . ." 

" Seal, 25th Deer., 1825. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . The New Year's Ball is certainly to take place, altho' the splendour 
must be much dimin'shed. It is expected to be well attended, & I am sure the 
presence of Sir Wm. & Ly Ashburnham will afford much gratification to all their 
friends. Miss Burton's party I believe is not to take place till after next week. Mr. 
& Mrs. NouaiUe hope to be favoured with yx company at dinner Wednesday the 4th 
inst. . . You have probably heard from Mrs. West that Mrs. Rudge is become a 
Grand-mamma ; Mrs. Pole was confined about ten days ago with a fine little girl. 
Mrs. Hardinge is again deprived of the use of her horses by illness, which prevented 
my Mother attending the Book-meeting, as Mrs. Nouaille could not accomodate us 
both and she did not feel equal to go without a supporting arm ; I therefore represented 
her & met a very pleasant & more numerous party than usual. Poor Mrs. Harenc 
who was a little recovering her spirits received a severe shock a few days ago in 
hearing of the sudden death of her father, who was Found dead in his bed without 
any previous illness. . ." 

After the visit to Seal, Sir William and Lady Ashburnham passed some time with 
their Aunt Rose Woodgate at Tonbridge. The next letter mentions an interview 
with a cook, who had offered herself to Lady Ashburnham ; her terms were twelve 
pounds a year with tea and sugar. 

' * Seal, Jany. 21st, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . As the frost is gone we are next week to have a general Assize. 
We have distributed Sir William's and your bounty to our poor Neighbours & they 
all expressed their grateful thanks, with many good wishes for the Health & Happiness 
of their kind Benefactors. Caroline Hardinge & Miss Papillon had a most agreable 
Ball at Rooks Nest. The accounts from Pembury are favourable ; Mr. & Mrs. 
Stephen Woodgate are in great apprehension for poor little William whose Fever is 
assuming an alarming aspect. On Wednesday I accompanied our friends at Great- 
ness to see a Museum of Natural Curiosities now exhibiting at Sevenoaks, with which 
(never having witnessed the British or Liverpool Museums) I was much pleased. 
Lady Georgiana Pratt made us a sociable visit a few days ago. Mrs. Cade called this 
morning & regretted much she has not had an opportunity of seeing you since yr 
marriage. . . . Frances Humphry." 

Miss Humphry was at Tonbridge for the last part of her sister's visit there, and 
the next letter is addressed to her at that place by Mrs. Humphry. 


"Seal, Feby. 28 [1826.] 
My dear Fanny, 

I inclose you a live pound note & one Sovereign ; whatever more is due I will 
settle when I have the pleasure of seeing you. As you tell me one line from me 
affords you great pleasure, I always feel happy to please you, as you have been so 
good in writing to us for which I cannot praise you too much. I this morning 
ventured to Chmrch for the first time since your absence ; Ld. Camden express'd great 
pleasure at seeing me out again. Ld. Brecknock was at Church, indeed the whole 
Family seem in great spirits at the thought of the expected arrival of Lady Caroline. 
Lady a Boyne WTites such pleasant letters to Mrs. Hardinge ; the wedding is again 
put off till the ist of March, I imagine on the indisposition of his Majesty who is to 
give the bride away. I saw a letter from dear Julia to-day addressed to Mrs. Nouaille ; 
she mentions how successful she has been in administering her Medicines. I was 
quite miserable when I heard of poor William's illness & am truely thankful to 
Providence that he is got better. I am very happy to hear both Mr. & Mrs. F. 
Woodgate are going on so weU. I wish you to consult Mr. Francis on the sale of my 
House &c. I think it will be desireable to sell Godden at once, but this House & the 
land at Noah's Ark I wish to dispose of subject to my Life in it. I wish him to advise 
me who he thinks proper to employ on this occasion & what part of the year is most 
desireable for me to offer it for sale, & beg him not to mention it to any one. I 
received my writings safe back from Mr. Crow but am not likely to get either Principal 
or Interest owing to the great scarcity of Money. My kindest love to my Dr. Sister, 
& with the same to yourself I remain your most affecte. Mother, 

Elizabeth Humphry." 

' ' Tonbridge, Febry. 7th, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . On Sunday, after Church, I called on Mrs. F. Woodgate. Mr. Francis 
is better & gets out a little to call on his neighbours, which tends to improve his 
spirits ; he last week experienced a return of the spasms in his stomach, for which 
he is at this time undergoing a course of calomel. Dr. Knox's family received the 
addition of a little boy last Thursday Evening and I am happy to add Mrs. Knox 
& the Infant have been & continue to go on in the most favourable manner. 
You probably saw by the Papers the death of Mr. Manning's youngest daughter ; 
after having so recently been in good health & the enjoyment of Life, what a sad 
change for her Family. Mr. & Mrs. West & Fanny called on Sunday after Church, 
but not a syllable transpired respecting the pending Negotiation. Mrs. James West 
walked down last week to call on my Aunt. Ahcia is our frequent visitor. Many 
of my friends have been so obliging to call and leave their cards, but do not come 
in lest they should fatigue my Aunt ; Mrs. Hardinge frequently caUs at the door to 
make personal enquiries. The accounts from Pembury are more favourable & it 
is hoped the crisis is passed, but the poor little boy is described to be in a very reduced 
and exhausted state. My Uncle Henry drove down on Sunday after Church & called 
on my Aunt ; he made many enquiries after you & Sir WiUiam «& desired his best 
remembrance. I picked up a pocket handf. of yours in the garden of which I shall 
retain possession till we meet. Mrs. Nouaille & Anne are expected at the Postern 
to-morrow for one night, & by them I hope to receive some InteUigence from Seal. 

The next letter, one from Maryanne Humphry, is subjoined to a note in Mrs. 
Nouaille's writing, and ' ' a recipe for the measles " * ; it is addressed to Lady 

" Seal, February loth, 1825. 
My dear Sister, 

The family circle at the Grove has been enlarged by the arrival on Monday 
of Sir Richd and Genl. & Miss Wolf & I had the pleasure of dining with them on 

*See Reference Sheet. 


Wednesday. Miss Wolf is not handsome but sensiblej& pleasing in her manner ; 
our friend the General seems to dote upon his daughter & delighted with the oppor- 
tunity of introducing her to the ladies at the Grove. Have the goodness to inform 
Sir Willm Ashburnham that Mrs. Hardinge has purchased Mr, Yates' horses for an 
hundred pounds. They are of a grey colour ; one is a perfectly sound horse & the 
other from some defect in breathing is termed a warer which is the reason Mr. Yates 
parts with them. On this account perhaps they might not be desirable for the 
Roads around Broomham. Lord & Ly. Camden returned from Town on Wednesday 
with Ld. Brecknock ; altho' greatly recovered from the effects of his accident he 
still walks very lame. Mr. Smith the architect spent two or three days in examining 
the roof of the Church & does not think it in so dangerous a state as was apprehended ; 
he says it may be repaired for four or five hundred pounds, and as under Ld. Camden's 
directions no unnecessary expense is to be incurred such as new pewing it &c the 
whole may be completed in three weeks. He recommends a person from Town to 
superintend the Country workmen. Lady Aboyne & her Daughter went to Town 
on Monday to attend the wedding of Ld. Strathaven ; the ceremony is to take place 
in a few days in a small chapel in the lodge at Windsor, & as his Majesty has signified 
his intention of giving the Bride away, the party invited is to be very select. The 
Bride & Bridegroom are to reside at present in a house of Lady Aboyne's situated 
(I think) in Huntingdonshire. Lady Elizabeth is said to have a fortune of sixty 
thousand pounds. Have you heard of John Woodgate's good fortune? He is 
promoted to a Major's rank on the staff in India with the pay of 800 per annum. 
Mrs. Thomas writes word he is much beloved & respected by all that know him, 
William Woodgate is so much better that Dr. Mayo has taken his leave for near a 
week. Poor Miss H. Manning's decease was very sudden. She had fainting fits of so 
alarming a nature that Mr. Kelson who was dining at Coombank on the day she 
expired apprized her family that medical aid was of no avail. She is said to have 
been so amiable a Girl that her loss is much lamented ; her complaint was some 
internal adhesion which obstructed her digestive powers, & her family are consoled 
by thinking that had she lived she never could have enjoyed good health. . . . 
Our friends at Greatness lately spent a few days with Mrs. Rudge, when Anne pre- 
sented Mrs. Pole with a beautiful lace cap (her own work) intended for little Anna 
Matilda. . . ." 

There is a letter of the same date from Miss Humphry, but it is of small conse- 
quence. She writes " You are not very strong, therefore take care of yourself, 
my dear Julia, for Health is so necessary to the enjo5mient of Life that few pleasures 
can be experienced without this blessing." 

Lord Strathavon was the eldest son of the Earl of Aboyne (afterwards Marquis 
of Huntley) and Lady Aboyne, daughter of Sir Charles Cope, and a sister of the 
Duchess of Dorset. 

" Tonbridge, Tuesday Morning [Feb. 25th, 1826]. 
My dear Julia. 

. . I am very sorry Sir WilHam has not had better weather for visiting 
the Metropolis & hope he will experience no increase of Rheumatism in consequence. 
I am sure you had a very agreable Companion in my friend William during his 
absence & have no doubt your young Protector took especial care of the charge com- 
mended to his care. Mr. & Mrs. Francis Woodgate have had quite a sick house ; 
all the younger children & most of the servants have been much indisposed ; little 
Alfred has had the measles & the rest of the children (that have been ill) all the 
symptoms of the disorder without the erruption. They were desirous of introducing 
a new name in the family, & therefore have given their little boy that of Edward. 
My Aunt received a letter from Mr. Acton a few days ago which contained all 
imaginable good wishes to you & Sir William. He was disappointed in sending his 
annual basket of game & intends to substitute two real Yorkshire Hams which my 


Aunt considers a more acceptable present. Mrs. Moneypenny & her Nieces wished 
Fanny [Woodgate] to join their party to the Maidstone Ball last Tuesday, which 
was declined ; do not you think this augurs favourably for her absent friend ? I 
watch the progress of the Peruvian Bonds with much Interest & am happy to see 
an improvement has taken place within the last few days. . . . Maryanne 

The Ashburnhams had invested several thousand pounds in the purchase of 
Peruvian Bonds. The next letter is likewise from Maryanne Humphry. 

' ' Seal, March 14th, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . My Mother is very well at this time & on Tuesday accompanied Mrs. 
Hardinge to Sevenoaks. We called at Mr. Lambard's & found the family at home. 
They are going to Hastings the end of this week, provided they succeed in obtaining 
an House in Pelham Place. Poor Mrs. Gurdon has not been so well ; she went to 
Bexhill in an open carriage & caught cold. My Mother is much obhged to Sir William 
Ashburnham for his kindness in writing to Mr, Palmer. We hope Sir William is 
no loser by the failure of the bank at Hastings, tho indeed these failures have been so 
general that few persons I fear connected with them but have suffered temporary 

The meeting between Lady Caroline Stuart & her family has been productive of 
much pleasure to both Parties. When the family left Wildemesse Lady Camden sent 
us the novel of Granby accompanied with a kind note from Lady Georgiana. We 
have been amused with the perusal ; the fashionable & pernicious effects of gambling 
are well described. The author is a Mr. Leister & a scene in which he exposes a 
singular & ingenious trick with dice is much commended ; it is even said that he 
himself discovered the contrivance. Although not acquainted with the parties, 
some account of Lord Strathaven's marriage may not prove uninteresting. The 
King notwithstanding his present attack of gout was wheeled in a chair to the Chapel 
& gave the bride away. She was habited in Brussels lace & her only ornaments 
a pair of pearl earrings set with diamonds, given her by Ld. Strathaven. Lady 
Cunningham presented a perfect contrast to her daughter, sparkling with jewels 
like a brilliant meteor. After the ceremony His Majesty saluted the Bride & a dinner 
was prepared for the party at the lodge at which the King presided, altho he only 
partook himself of Mutton Broth, & with the permission of Sir Henry Halford (who 
was present) drank one glass of champagne in honour of the festive occasion. You 
may recollect hearing that Coll. Ilbert died some time since. He has left a consider- 
able estate in Devonshire to Mrs. Ilbert's eldest son on his attaining the age of twenty 
four, to Perry the younger son Two hundred a year & tliree or four thousand pounds 
to commence his career in life, & to Mrs. Ilbert he has bequeathed the same legacy 
as to his own Sisters. Mrs. Ilbert has been living at Tiverton & intends to remove 
her residence to Bath to be near Mrs. Philips, the sister of Mr. Ilbert. Mr. Turton 
has been dangerously ill with a pleurisy but now is doing well ; they are coming to 
Brasted. Caroline Hardinge . . sends her kind love, & recommends if you have 
leisure to work some ottomands to ornament your rooms at Broomham, an amuse- 
ment quite in fashion just now. I was quite surprised to hear of Mrs. Wynch giving 
a dance so late in the Hastings season & hope to hear it proves agreable. . ." 

' ' Tonbridge, March 15 th, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . Penfold has just brought me a long letter from Maryanne ; she tells 
me Mr. Warton has taken Godden & is fitting it up for the reception of himself & 
Pupils at Ladyday. Mrs. Hardinge carried my Mother to call at Fairlawn on Monday; 
they found the young ladies at home & had a most agreable visit. I received a 
letter from Mrs. W. Humphry yesterday morning & am concerned to inform you 
she does not altogether give so favorable an account of my Brother's Health as could 


be wished ; she says he sleeps well & his appetite is generally good, but adds that 
he has a slight cough, is extremely weak & much reduced. Mr. Paslow thinks 
him better but he is very low & desponding about himself ; he has not yet quitted 
the Drawing-room. When the season is more advanced & he is able to get out into 
the air I trust it will tend to renovate & improve his Health. Dr. Knox is much 
occupied in the alterations at the School. The offices are all taken down & a new 
Play-ground is in progress for the Boys. A deputation of the Skinners have been 
down this week to arrange & settle the plan of proceeding with the Dr. Mr. Francis 
Woodgate is quite recovered from his illness & Mrs. Woodgate is so well as to intend 
spending the day at Riverhill to-morrow ; the children are all well. I imagine Sir 
William & yourself are occupied in the agreable pursuit of Gardening, & have no 
doubt my friend William West is willing to render you a little assistance in your 
labours. The genial weather of last week has set everything in motion. I walked 
to the Postern last Friday & in my cloth Pelisse found the heat quite oppressive. 
. . . Mrs. F. Woodgate received a letter from Miss Luxford yesterday & I was 
happy to hear poor little Lydia is quite recovered from her serious illness. I am 
quite concerned to hear Mr. Wenham has made no provision for his Daughter ; 
I do think it was most unjustifiable conduct towards her. . . Frances Humphry." 

Miss Humphry took advantage of the West's visit to Greatness to return home 
in their carriage for a few days. She writes again on her return : — 

" Tonbridge, March 31st, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . William West returned much pleased with his visit & the kindness 
he received at Broomham. All his friends think him grown & looking remarkably 
well. Was not you surprized to hear of Sir Richard Hardinge's union with Miss. 
Wolf ? It took place at her married sister's at Bath in the most private manner, 
by special License, about a fortnight ago. The ceremony was performed by her 
brother Mr. James Wolf. • His family cannot be supposed to approve of so dispro- 
portionate a union (the Lady being in her 35th year), to some of them it must prove 
a serious disappointment ; they have however the good sense to make the best of it 
& hope his happiness may be promoted by the society of a sensible companion & 
attentive nurse. Her talent in this way was soon called into practice, for the poor 
Bridegroom has been seriously ill with an Inflammation on the chest, in addition 
to Gout, since his Marriage. Do not you think it an enviable prospect for a young 
lady on first entering the conjugal state ? . . . The Ball at Sevenoaks was 
very thin for Easter, the number not amounting to 70. Neither Maryanne or 
Caroline Hardinge were there. Our friends at Greatness wished me very much to 
join their party, but as my stay was so short I was unwilling to leave my Mother 
& Maryanne. I was sorry it was not a better ball as Mr. & Mrs. Camack came 
from Town to be present. Mrs. Camack shone pre-eminent in all her Diamonds. 
You know the Sevenoaks people are proverbial for not paying proper attention to 
strangers ; I fear that was the case in the present instance. Mrs. Camack however 
had a good deal of dancing & expressed herself much pleased with the Evening. 
I returned on Wednesday ; Tuesday Caroline Hardinge & James West dined with 
us, & Mrs. Hardinge & Jane Woodgate joined our circle in the Evening. Caroline 
tells me in confidence that a matrimonial engagement has taken place between 
Henry Thursby & his cousin Elizabeth Papillon, with the entire approbation of their 
respective families. James West is looking remarkably well & in his usual good 
spirits ; he likes Cambridge better than ever & I hope he is going on well. He considers 
himself most fortunate in having so clever a man as Mr. Ramsey for a Tutor & says 
he entertains the highest veneration for him. He has been passing a few days with 
Mr. Thompson & returns to Cambridge the early part of next week. The last 
accounts of my Brother were rather more favourable. Mr. Paslow says he has 
several Patients in the same state, & that he cannot expect much improvement in 
their Health till we have a change of weather. We hear from Mrs. W. Humphry 


that our good friend Mr. Baker died possessed of eighty thousand pounds. He left 
a will & made an equitable distribution of his property. To his nephew Frederick 
Hemming he bequeathed thirty thousand pounds with all his books & prints. Mrs. 
Stephen Woodgate is going on well, Mrs. West has promised to take me to call on 
her next week. . . Frances Humphry." 

The next letter is from Mrs. Humphry. 

"Seal, April ye 5th, [1826]. 

You cannot think, my dear Julia, how much entertainment your letters afford 
me, and what pleasure it gives me to hear so good an account of Sir William Ashburn- 
ham and yourself. I am much pleased to hear you have been engaged in the amuse- 
ment of Planting, as you know I am a great friend to improvements of that nature. 
Did you trench the ground before hand, as I am told its expedient for their thriving. 
The Plantations about us I think flourish very well & I hope yours will do the same. 
I must now beg your acceptance of a pair of cuffs ; they are a trifling memorial 
but 3^ou Mill recollect they are worked by your Mother in her 76th year. I drank 
tea at the Grove last night to meet Mrs. & Miss Thursby. They enquired very much 
after Sir William and yourself, & desired to be kindly remembered. I am sorry 
I cannot send you a better account of poor William ; he continues very much the 
same. Poor Mrs. Humphry has had a great deal of Nursing this winter, I fervently 
hope the mild weather will benefit his health. I do not say anything about your 
coming to see me at present, as I dare say Sr. Wilham will be occupied for some 
time in directing the alterations in his House ; when do you think of begining ? 
I often wish I could transport myself to your fire side to pass a little time with 
Sir William and yourself. I am tolerably weU at present altho' at times I am very 
feeble & poorly. Mary Ann will write you a much more sprightly letter & tell you 
all the news." 

On the 26th April, Mrs. Humphry's old and valued friend Mrs. Caroline Har- 
dinge died. At the time of her death she was in London with her niece Caroline, 
and for some time previously had been receiving daily visits from Sir Henry Halford, 
the King's Physician. The seat of her disorder appears to have been the head, 
to which leeches and a blister were applied without effect. Her death was a severe 
loss to the neighbourhood where she had lived for so many years, and especially 
to the Humphrys. On the 19th Maryanne Humphry writes from Seal : — 

. . Great is the interest evinced here for Mrs. Caroline Hardinge & numerous 
were the enquiries yesterday from all classes to know if we could afford them inform- 
ation. . . The preparations for beginning the Church are delayed in consequence 
of Mr. Smith's indisposition, & this circumstance will probably retard its commence- 
ment for a few weeks. Our own bricklayers are to be employed but not the Carpenters. 
My Mother accompanied Mrs. Nouaille &c. in a drive to St. Clere on Monday, & 
yesterday Mrs. Evelyn called at the door to enquire if we had any intelligence from 
Town [of Mrs. Hardinge]. Mrs. Nouaille has sent her never failing remedy for the 
measles to Fairlawn yesterday, and my Mother took the opportunity of enquiring 
after the family. Mr. Yates sent word both the young ladies were recovering. . ." 

Maryanne Humphry's letter to Lady Ashburnham, written two days later, 
conveys much the same intelligence : — 

" . . . You have no doubt heard from Tunbridge of the alarming attack 
of apoplexy with which our esteemed friend Mrs. Caroline Hardinge was seized 
the day after her arrival in town. Caroline wrote on Monday to impart the sad 
intelligence. At that time every relief the best medical skill could administer 
had failed of producing the desired effect & she remained unconscious to all around 
her. . . Sir Richard has also been seriously indisposed so that poor Lady Hardinge 
may indeed be termed a mourning Bride. My Mother feels much for her valued 
friend and at times is a good deal affected at the deprivation she will experience 
in her agreable & improving society. In our present anxiety it affords us great 


comfort that my Aunt continues so remarkably well & we rejoice to hear such 
favourable accounts of James West ; poor Fellow, he has had a serious illness which 
may ultimately prove advantageous & teach him to be more temperate in his exertions 
& amusements for the future. We were quite glad to see Alicia West with Fanny 
to spend a morning here last week ; she tells me it is quite decided for her to take 
lessons in dancing & looks forward with no small degree of pleasure to her visit 
at Broomham. . . How superb was the entertainment you describe at Beauport ; 
you must almost have fancied yourself in the regions of fairy land. Our paper 
informed us Sir William was a distinguished advocate at the annual meeting of that 
benevolent society of the relief of the Deaf & Dumb, & you may be sure we read 
the account with more than accustom'd interest. My Mother accompanied Mrs. 
Nouaille in a drive to St. Clere on Monday ; they found Mrs. Evelyn at home & her 
rooms were gracefully decorated with abundance of floral emblems. It is the first 
spring for some years she has been well enough to enjoy her Garden. How beautiful 
is the table Sir William has presented to Fanny ! when filled with flowers it will be 
the admiration of every one. Lady Aboyne sat half an hour here yesterday ; she 
has really a most engaging manner & said my Mother was very forgiving to admit 
her after her apparent inattention in not calling before. She talked of you & recalled 
the circumstance of Sir William having partaken the amusement of skating with 
Lady Charlotte. How uncertain are the events of this life ! last week we were 
looking forward to the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Hardinge & Caroline again & hearing 
the particulars of a pleasant visit ; the scene is now reversed, & whatever may be 
the result I hope dear Caroline will be enabled to meet it with the same fortitude 
& resignation to the Divine will which her revered Aunt would have evinced on a 
like occasion." 

Three days later the news is worse ; a letter of Maryanne Humphry to her 
sister says : — 

" . . . Mrs. Nouaille received a letter yesterday from Mrs. Thursby ; I 
grieve to state poor Mrs. Caroline was taken considerably worse on Saturday & not 
expected to survive the day. She does not suffer any pain, which is a consolation. 
. . . Mrs. W. Humphry wrote to my Mother on Saturday. Our Brother's 
health improves but his strength does not return as fast as could be wished. He 
is to take a drive the first very fine day in Mr. Paslow's carriage. My Uncle made 
us a short visit yesterday after Church & wch he said would prove a prelude to a 
longer one very soon. Neither my Uncle or Aunt approve of losing Mrs. Lipscomb's 
society for so long a period as a twelve month. I should imagine Mr. Lipscomb 
will not persist in wishing her to remain for so extended a period in the North. 
Our Church is to be begun this week. Notice was given yesterday that during the 
time it is under repair service will be performed at Kempsing. . ." 
Mrs. Hardinge died on April 23rd. 

' ' Seal, April 26th, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . Our late letters have I trust prepared you for the melancholy Event 
I have now to communicate. A great change took place in our dear friend Mrs. 
Caroline Hardinge on Saturday last, when all hope became extinct, & she closed 
her valuable life without a struggle on Monday morning at 4 o'clock. Our dear 
Caroline's health suffered much during the illness of her aunt, but we have the 
satisfaction to hccir from Mrs. Hardinge that she supported the closing scene with 
more fortitude than could be expected ; she revered her departed Aunt so highly 
& they lived so happily together that the loss to her must be incalculably great. . . 
The Funeral is to take place here on Saturday next ; I never knew any one more 
lamented, for few possessed so enlightened an understanding and affectionate feeling 
to all around her. . . Mrs. Nouaille with her accustomed kindness has visited 
my Mother every day for some time past. My Brother & Mrs. W. Humphry wish 
Maryanne to make them a visit, & she thinks of passing a little time with them 


a fortnight or three weeks hence. Mrs. Allnutt has seen her friend Emily Sidney, 
now Mrs. WilHam Wakefield ; she was in high spirits at the liberation of her Husband, 
is reconciled to her Father who consents to allow her four hundred a year, & has been 
introduced to her sister Mrs. Sidney. During the time the Church is under repair 
(which commenced on Monday) service is to be performed twice a day every Sunday 
at Kempsing. The Bishop of Rochester holds a Confirmation at Tonbridge the 12th 
of May when Alicia West is to be confirmed. We long to know Mr. Rateley's opinion 
of Broomham & Sir William's decision on the subject. We hear Sir Richard & 
Lady Hardinge come to Sundridge to-day, but do not know whether dear Caroline 
accompanies them. . . Frances Humphry." 

The establishment at the Grove was broken up, and the house, which belonged 
to Lord Camden, was eventually let to Sir Alexander Crighton. Anne Richardson, 
the cook, was taken into Lady Ashburnham's service at Broomham. Caroline 
Hcirdinge's headquarters, from that time, were fixed at Pembury, the home of her 
sister Mrs. Stephen Woodgate ; and we learn from the next letter that she went 
there in May. 
My dear Julia, " Seal, May loth, 1826. 

. . . I wrote to dear Caroline a few days ago & said everything / knew you 
would wish, for you. When the impression of her grief is softened, & she can visit 
this neighbourhood without painful emotion, we hope she wtU pass a little time 
with us. By her desire my Mother has the Donkey Chaise, & Maryanne & myself 
are desired to select a memorial of our departed friend. Mr. Stephen Woodgate 
came to the Grove to make some arrangements on Monday, & afterwards dined 
with us. He brought me an affectionate letter from Mrs. Stephen ; her recovery 
has been much retarded by the late melancholy Event. . . . The Horses of 
our departed Friend were sent to Town the beginning of last week & sold for a larger 
sum than Mrs. Hardinge gave for them. We walked to Sevenoaks Monday to call 
on Miss Haranc & a few friends, & to-morrow my Mother thinks of making a morning 
visit at Fairlawn. We hear from Mrs. S. Woodgate that Mrs. Hardinge has mentioned 
us all affectionately in her will ; take no notice of this, as we have heard nothing 
from Sir Henry or Captain Hardinge, who are the Executors. . . Ld. Camden 
takes possession of the Grove next week, when she [the cook] expects to receive her 
discharge. When you think a proper time has elapsed, she wishes you to apply to 
Miss Hardinge for her character, who will be at Pembury after Friday next. . . 

Frances Humphry." 

Lady Ashburnham had v/ritten to enquire whether the horses were to be sold 
privately, as her husband was desirous of purchasing them. Mrs. Hardinge's death 
was followed by an affliction of still nearer concern to the family at Seal. From 
the next letter it appears that William Humphry's health took an alarming change 
for the worse during Maryanne's visit. The letter is addressed to Miss Humphry 
at 14, Charlotte Street, Pimlico. 
My dear Fanny, ' ' Seal, May 21st, 1826. 

With what painful feelings I left Charlotte Street yesterday you can well imagine, 
& how anxious I felt to hear further tydings of my dearest Brother. I would have 
given any thing this morning to know how he continued the remainder of the day 
yesterday, & if he passed a more comfortable night. . . . I hope dear Mrs. 
Humphry continues tolerably well ; her unremitting attentions to her dear husband 
during a long illness will hereafter prove a source of the purest satisfaction whatever 
may be the dispensation of an all wise Providence. I know she has a kind friend 
with her, that will partake & endeavour to alleviate her present distressing situation. 
. . . Mrs. Nouaille has paid my dear Mother every attention, visiting her once 
and twice a day, & to amuse & relieve her mind has occasionally taken her for a 
drive in her carriage. Mr. & Mrs. Smith are now at Greatness. Both Mr. & Mrs. 
Nouaille evince the greatest interest for my Brother & desire their love & best wishes 
to him & my Sister. , , , Maryanne Humphry." 


Maryanne Humphry had found her brother much better on her arrival, and the 
change was quite unexpected. Lady Ashburnham at this period spent some days 
at Seal while Sir WilHam was in town, and endeavoured to cheer her Mother by her 
company. William died on the 26th May, and the fatal news was conveyed to them 
in a letter of the 27th. 

' ' My dearest Julia, 

I should have written to you yesterday but my dear Brother was so extremely 
exhausted that we all concluded the term of his existence here was drawing to a 
close. Towards the Evening he became still more weak & exhausted, & unaccom- 
panied with pain & without a sigh or struggle gently sank into the arms of death 
at half past eleven o'clock. As there was no prospect of regaining his Health, 
we cannot be too thankful to a Merciful Providence for removing him with so little 
suffering to a happier state of existence & the patient resignation he evinced to the 
Divine Will, during a long illness, I doubt not has proved acceptable in the sight 
of Heaven. 

The first effusion of our poor Sister's grief was most distressing, which the 
sight of her children this morning again renewed. I have endeavoured to support 
& comfort her as far as I am able & am happy to add my efforts have not proved 
unavailing, for her feelings are now become much more tranquil & composed. I 
grieve to hear dear Maryanne has been so unwell, & fervently hope to receive a 
better account soon. The melancholy state in which she left my poor Brother 
was sufficient to unnerve a stronger constitution. I am sure it will afford her & 
my dearest Mother the utmost consolation to know that his end was so gentle & 
undisturbed that, altho' I was sitting by him, I was scarcely aware the change had 
taken place. I hope Sir Willm. has joined you ; it is a great comfort you are at 
Seal as I am sure yr society will greatly alleviate the sorrow of my Mother & Mary- 

Captn. Hardinge has shewn the kindness & attention of a Brother, calling every 
day to make enquiries, & offering his services in any way that may be useful. I 
cannot leave poor Mrs. Humphry in her present distress ; in compliance with the 
wish expressed by her dear departed Husband the funeral is to take place at Seal, 
I imagine towards the end of next week. I will write again Monday when I shall 
be able to give you further information. You will be good enough to send me as 
soon as convenient a Hst of the mourning wished for by my Mother, yourself & 
Maryanne, and if you can give me any Instructions respecting the Transfer [of 
stock] I shall be much obliged. Mrs. W. H. unites in most affectionate remembrance 
to all yr circle & beheve me ever, my dr Julia, yr truly affectionate sister 

Frances Humphry," 

William Ozias Humphry was buried at Seal on 2nd June, described in the 
register as being ' ' of St. George's, Hanover Square, aged 46 years." The inscription, 
on the same monument as that of his brother George (see p. 180) is as follows : — 
" Also to the memory 
of William Ozias Humphry Esq. 
(of the Council Office, Whitehall), their eldest son, 
who departed this life the 26th May, 1826, 
at the age of 46 years." 
Though he had been in the possession of a comfortable income, it seems that 
he had neglected to make any adequate provision for his wife and family. He 
died without a will, and his widow was obliged to take out letters of administration 
to his effects. The whole family passed some time at Seal in August, after which 
they accompanied Mrs. Moody, a friend and near neighbour in London, on a visit 
to the seaside. 

Meanwhile, the effects of the shock on Maryanne's health, caused by her brother's 
illness and death, became more apparent. She complained of unpleasant sensations 


in her head and in August departed for Broomham in order that she might indulge 
in the shower bath and dry cupping. This was not found to be beneficial ; and as 
Maryanne was very restless and excitable, and most difficult to manage, she engaged 
lodgings at Hastings for the sake of the sea-bathing there, which did her some good, 
and she returned to Seal with the Ashburnhams at the end of October. She never 
quite recovered, and from that period was always excitable, full of strange ideas 
and alarms for her health, and possessed of a constant desire for change. 

The next letter of interest is from Miss Humphry. 

" Seal, Octr. 20th, 1826. 
My dear Julia, 

. . . I went to Tonbridge Wednesday to pass the day with my Aunt, on the 
anniversary of her 87th birthday. ... I called on poor Mrs. Francis Woodgate 
& found her in bed in a very suffering state. Caroline Hardinge is still at Sundridge ; 
her health is so much improved that she intends visiting some of her friends previous 
to her leaving the Neighbourhood. Monday she comes to Wildernesse for a few days ; 
the middle of the week she goes to Mrs. Evelyn, & Saturday sen'night she is to be 
with us. We requested her to defer her visit as long as she could in the hope of her 
meeting the Broomham Trio here. Mr. & Mrs. William Woodgate with their little 
Boy came to Greatness yesterday for a week, we are to drink Tea there this evening 
with a small party. Ly. G. Pratt made us a sociable visit this morning & requested 
me to come to Wildernesse & see the Gardens &c. before their beauty is quite eclipsed. 
Ly. Caroline has reached home by easy stages & her Health is much improved. We 
hear you have been much engaged & very gay of late. . . Frances Humphry." 

"Seal, Octr. 26th, 1826. 
My dear JuHa, 

We shall be truly happy to see our Broomham friends on Saturday next . . . 
You will be concerned to hear that a return of indisposition obliges Caroline Hardinge 
to change her plans ; instead of visiting her friends as she intended, she has gone to 
Town for medical advice previous to her settling at Pembury for the winter. . . . 
We drank tea at Wildernesse on Tuesday & passed a very sociable pleasant evening 
with Lady Camden & Ly. Georgiana. We were invited to Greatness the same day 
to meet Mr. & Mrs. West & Fanny, & regretted being previously engaged. Our 
Postern friends called yesterday on their return home. Fanny looks extremely 
well in mourning, but it is a little unfortunate being obliged to put on a sable garb 
for one for whom she could not entertain any very great affection, after having 
made preparations for her winter Campaign. Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Woodgate are still 
at Greatness, we see them frequently ; their little boy is a remarkably fine child, 
& the very image of his Father. . . . Frances Humphry." 

Sir Richard Hardinge died in November, and was succeeded in the baronetcy 
by his nephew Charles, the Vicar of Tunbridge. His death is referred to in the 
following : ^.. 

[Seal, Novr. 21st, 1826.] 
' ' My dearest Julia, 

. . , We spent a pleasant evening yesterday with Mr. & Mrs. Wharton ; 
it was a small party consisting of the family at Greatness & Mr. Whitehead. My 
Mother was quite gratified at again visiting a house where she has passed a large 
& happy portion of her life. They gave us an elegant entertainment & Mr. NouaiUe 
was gratified by an exhibition of Fossils & minerals shewn to him by Mr. Wharton, 
the chief merit of which consisted in their being brought from the North Pole & 
presented by Captain PaiTy. I am sorry our cousin Fanny & Mr. & Mrs. West 
have been confined with colds ; to the former a little temporary delay of pleasure 
may increase enjoyment. Do inform me if any matrimonial overture is likely to be 
made in that quarter ? You will be glad to hear that our friend Caroline has been 
remembered by her uncle in a legacy of a thousand pounds & the jewels belonging 


to the late Lady Hardinge. His widow has a settlement of £500 a year & two thousand 
pounds, & Sir Charles the plate. This I gleaned from Mrs. Nouaille who heard it 
at 7 oaks yesterday. Our late friend Sir Richard was so well known in this neigh- 
bourhood that the distribution of his fortune has created some interest, and tho 
eccentric he was yet so friendly & hospitable that he will be greatly missed by those 
of his family & friends who best knew him. Your kind remembrance was gratefully 
received by Mrs. Still ; it was, she said, quite a beauty & she regretted that her lady- 
ship should have been at Seal without seeing her, & this sentiment has been echoed 
by all her humble friends, with concern that Indisposition was the Cause. Fanny 
hears that Sir Richard has remembered all his family in a very affectionate manner 
with the exception of Mrs. Stephen, who he considered had been handsomely provided 
for by her Aunts. . . . Maryanne Humphry." 

" [27th Nov. 1826.] 
My dear Julia, 

. , . Mrs. NouaUle has not heard from Mrs. West since their Residence at 
Hastings, therefore your intelligence was very acceptable. She is desirous to establish 
little social parties weekly at Greatness, our House & Mr. Whitehead's, & for Mr. 
& Mrs. Wharton occasionally to join when the weather is mild & favourable. Our 
friend Sir Richard died much richer than was supposed. To the present baronet 
he has left the Irish estate (which when he came into possession was heavily mortgaged 
& was enabled to clear) & the plate & china, both considered of great value ; and 
his pictures between his three nephews. To Caroline (as I mentioned before) 
a thousand pounds and the late Lady Hardinge's diamonds ; £5000 to Sir Henry, 
settled on his mariage ; ;^3000 to Captain Hardinge, and half his personal effects ; 
to his widow ^^2000, with her jointure £500 a year & the remainder of his personals ; 
Mr. Gore a thousand pounds, and to the Cullums £4000 ; to all his nephews & nieces 
in the same degree of relationship ;^ioo, with the exception I am sorry to add of 
Mrs. Stephen Woodgate. The two executors are Sir Charles & Captain Hardinge. 
Fanny has received a letter from Caroline containing some just observations on 
her Uncle's character ; she says, ' ' tho' like all human beings not without failings, 
yet he was so agreable, hospitable & kindhearted that he cannot fail of being greatly 
missed by his family and friends ; and the reflection that he was the last of his high 
gifted generation is itself melancholy." ... A second Robbery has lately 

occured at Mr. Lambard's ; some person escaped from the hall door, after pur- 
loining various articles of clothing & taking from Miss Mary Lambard's work box 
a valuable set of gold implements for work. A police officer came down from London, 
but has not succeeded in discovering the depredator. The knowledge of this burglary 
makes us rejoice in the possession of Boxer, who evinces a decided hostility to all 
intruders. . . . Maryanne Humphry." 

A letter from Frances Humphry, on December 12th, 1826, gives an account 
of her aunt's critical state. She was kept alive by three glasses of sherry a day. 
She says : — 

" . . . I received a note from Maryanne last night by Penfold, stating that 
Ly. G. Pratt had requested her to arrange & procure the prizes for the children of 
the school, & never having undertaken the office before, feels a little at a loss & 
requests if I can leave my Aunt that I would retiurn for a day or two to render her 
a little assistance. As Mr. Morris sees no symptoms of immediate change, I purpose 
going home to-day for one or two nights. My presence appears to afford my Aunt 
so much satisfaction that I should be very unwilling to leave her for any length of 
time in so critical a state. Our nephew WiUiam comes to Seal on Monday ; I hope 
his society will prove an amusement to my dear Mother & Maryanne. Since I have 
been here I have received several kind visits from Caroline Hardinge, & Saturday 
Mr. S. Woodgate called to make personal enquiries. Mrs. James West is looking 
poorly. ... I sincerely wish her nerves were stronger to enable her to support 
the inevitable trials of Hfe. . . . Frances Humphry." 


On her return from Seal, Frances Humphry found her patient weaker, and in 
greater pain. ..." Maryanne is fully occupied in arranging the Prizes for 
the School, & any employment that takes her attention from herself is beneficial. 
William arrived (quite well) the day before I left Seal. Mrs. W. Humphry has 
lately received a very kind letter from Ld. Camden, stating how desirous himself 
& Ld. Harrowby are of obtaining some provision for her, & regretting the illness 
of Lord Liverpool has prevented their conferring with him on the subject. They 
are certainly rather slow in their proceedings, but we still hope much good may 
result from such powerful Interest. . . Sir Charles & Ly. Hardinge with Mrs. 
Callender called during my absence ; they repeated their visit yesterday & sat some 
time with me. Caroline comes to the Vicarage on Saturday for a week. How truly 
melancholy the circumstances of poor Mr. Wheater's death. He was so estimable 
a character that this event must have plunged his family & friends in the deepest 
affliction. I conclude you will join Mrs. West's dinner party to-morrow & hope 
it will prove agreable. I hear yr party on Thursday was most agreable, the new 
china much admired, an excellent dinner well dressed, & altogether a most hand- 
some entertainment. So says my informant. . . . Frances Humphry." 

" Seal, Deer, ye 24th, 
My dearest Fanny. . . I quite grieve that you cannot pass Xmas with us. 
. . . Mary Ann accompanied Mrs. Nouaille to the Book Meeting on Monday 
& met a very pleasant party. She was so fortunate to draw No. 9 for Lady Camden 
& got her favourite lot ; mine was No. 19 ; for such a high number I think I was 
fortunate in getting the life of Kemble. She has had a great deal to do this week 
in settling the affairs of the school. Lady Georgiana Pratt call'd this morning 
& approved very much of what she had done. William is a very good Boy & receives 
quite as much pleasure from the Donkey Chaice as his brother Richard. I saw 
little Martha Woodgate, & think her a sweet little girl. The Family at the Grove 
are not yet arrived. . . . Elizabeth Humphry." 

[December 29th, 1826]. 
" My dear Juha. . . My Mother, you will be happy to learn, is very well 
at this time & attended Church on Xmas day. Lady Londonderry is now at Wilder- 
ness, & Sir Henry & Lady Emily with their three children. They favoured us with 
a visit this morning. Lord Castlereagh is also one of their family circle. You have 
probably heard of the premature death of Lord Amherst's eldest son, who fell a 
victim to the effects of a contageous fever about a fortnight after his return from 
the Burmah army, against which he had distinguished himself on several occasions, 
& is deservedly lamented. Lord Amherst has also had the same fever, but happily 
is now recovered. Mrs. West writes word she attended a splendid party at Broom- 
ham a short time since. I am glad to hear Fanny Woodgate is looking so well ; 
the arrival of her uncle and aunt must prove an acquisition to her residence at 
Hastings. Anne Nouaille is equipping herself for her intended visit & looks forward 
with much pleasure to partaking of the Hastings festivities. Mrs. Wharton dined 
with us on Tuesday & Mrs. Nouaille's family &c. came in the evening, & last night 
we drank tea at Greatness to meet the same party. We were favoured with a visit 
from Lord Camden a few days since. Both himself & Lord Harrowby have had a 
communication with Lord Liverpool on the subject of a pension to Mrs. Humphry, 
& the result he hopes may be satisfactory in consequence of my Brother's long services, 
altho' the first lord of the Treasury is reluctant to admit a precident of this kind 
m the present state of the Country. Lord Camden in the most friendly manner 
enquu-ed the age of William, & said that had he been two years younger he could 
have placed him at Merchant Taylors School. From the interest with which he 
enquired the respective ages of the other children, I really think he would be glad 
to assist in their education & advancement in life ; he hoped if Mrs. Humphry's 
income was increased, William might be sent to a good school, & thought it to be 
regretted he had not been instructed in Latin. He is upon the whole a very good 


Boy ; he desires me to thank his Aunt Ashburnham for her kind remembrance to 
him. Travels & voyages seem to be his favourite reading at present. My Mother 
had a visit to-day from Lady Hardinge & Carohne ; I was so unlucky to miss them, 
having walked with William towards Sevenoaks. Poor Fanny must have a melan- 
choly time at Tunbridge." 

The next letter is from Mrs. Humphry, describing Lord Camden's visit in much 
the same terms as above : — 

" Seal, Decembr 31st, [1826]. 
My dearest Fanny, 

The account you send of my dr Sister is very distressing indeed, & we can only 
pray that she may experience an happy Transition from this to a happier & more 
dureable state of existence. I thank you for your note ; may many many happy 
years attend j^ou & reward the kind attention you have shewn to my dr sister. It 
gave me sincere pleasure to see Lady Hardinge, Mrs. Callender & dr Caroline. I 
hope you have often had that happiness, indeed I am truly grateful for their kindness ; 
Sr. Henry & Lady Emily Hardinge had called just before. Mr. & Mrs. Charles 
Petley & Henry made me a visit on that morning, unluckily Mary Anne & William 
were walked out. Anne Nouaille is going to Hastings on Tuesday. We have 
returned Miss Yates' books & received a kind & polite note in return, saying she 
& her sister intended calling very soon & bringing some of the same books unbound. 
May all the Blessings of this hallowed season attend you, my sister & all Friends 
at Tunbridge. Most affectionately yours, Elizabeth Humphry." 

Rose Woodgate died on New Years' day, 1827. For letters descriptive of this 
event see under Chapter X. 

On the 3rd January, Frances Humphry, after stating briefly the provisions 
of the will, adds : — 

" Mrs. Nouaille came down this morning (with Anne who was on her way to 
Hastings), & sat two hours with me. Her account of my dear Mother is delightful ; 
she supports the present affliction with her accustomed resignation under every 
dispensation of the Divine will. I have received many kind letters, particularly 
from Mrs. S. Woodgate, who requests to hear from me again. Dear Caroline called 
repeatedly, & said how delighted she should be if her servant Ford, who is an excellent 
Nurse, could be of use on the late occasion. . . ." 

Mary Ann Humphry writes to her sister : — 

' ' We have all lost an invaluable friend in our dear Aunt, & it must prove a 
consoling reflection that you was enabled to sooth & impart consolation to her 
dying hours. Remember us very kindly to Susan, whose constant care & affection 
to her poor Mistress we are very glad she has so kindly remembered." 

After the funeral was over, Frances and the Ashburnhams went together to 
Seal. Mary Ann informs Lady Ashburnham that she will find her nephew WiDiam 
Humphry ' ' rather a rough blade, but possessed of a frank & generous disposition." 

The New Year's Ball at Sevenoaks that year, at which of course the Humphrys 
were not present, was attended by more than a hundred and forty ; and the band 
from Almack's, without the harp, provided the music. The Ashburnhams did not 
stay long at Seal, and on their departure Frances Humphry returned to Tonbridge 
for a few days to see after her Aunt's affairs. She went back to Seal at the beginning 
of February whence she writes to her sister Julia on the 5th : — 

" . . . Poor Mrs. Francis Woodgate was in a very suffering state for some 
days last week, & early on Saturday morning to the great joy & surprise of Mr. 
Francis & her friends gave birth to a very fine little girl, & when I left Tonbridge 
both Mother and child were going on as well as possible. I understand the infant 
is a remarkably fine child. Mr. Francis desired me to say he should have acquainted 


you with this happy event had I not been writing. I heard a report at Tonbridge, 
which I sincerely hope may prove correct, that the late Mrs. Jones (who felt much 
for the situation of Anna Woodgate) has left her a legacy. I saw Anna who expressed 
much stirprize & gratitude for our dear Aunt's kind legacy. I spent a very sociable 
pleasant day with Ly. Hardinge, who kindly offered to bring me home. Miss Eliza 
Yates, hearing I was at Tonbridge, rode over & called on me. She was accompanied 
by Miss Peel, the eldest sister of the late Mrs. Yates. As the House at Tonbridge, 
is in so dilapidated a state, my Mother appears disposed to sell it, but has not quite 
made up her mind on the subject. I assure you I was not idle during my stay at 
Tonbridge ; I settled everything that can be done at present and, am happy to add, 
much to my Mother's satisfaction. We were invited to dine at Wilderness last 
week to meet Sir A. Crighton & his family ; as I was absent Maryanne did not feel 
quite equal to meet a party of strangers & therefore declined the Invitation. Sir 
Alexander with his lady & family were at Church yesterday ; we purpose calling on 
them in the course of a few days. William is still here, & his reluctance to leave 
Seal is not diminished. He is so happy & good humoured that we shall be quite 
sorry to part with him, but do not think it right to keep him beyond the end of the 
present week." 

" Seal, Febry. 20th, 1827. 

My dear Julia, . . We are happy to find Mr. Cubitt's opinion of Broomham 
is so satisfactory & hope his Estimates of the expense will prove equally so. I cim 
very glad the oak panels remain. They accord so well with the general character 
of the House that I should have been quite sorry had it been necessary to remove 
them. We have heard nothing from Mr. Palmer, do you think I should write to 
him ? On Sunday last my Mother received the usual letter from the Stamp office, 
apprizing her that a copy of my Aunt's will had been received there. When I go 
to Tonbridge again (which is delayed till we have heard from Mr. Palmer) it is my 
Mother's present intention that I should select what Furniture we think will be useful, 
and (after giving some to Susan) Mr. Stidolph is to take the remainder for sale (without 
its being known to whom it formerly belonged). We think this will be a desirable 
mode of disposing of it. My Mother has not quite made up her mind respecting the 
House. Some of her friends think it desirable to sell, & others that they should 
be unwilling to part with it. What is your opinion on this subject ? I am sure 
it was the wish of our departed Aunt that whatever plan is most desirable should 
be adopted, & regret my Mother should not derive advantage from so kind a bequest. 
Several offers have been made for taking it ready furnished for six months, but we 
do not think it is in a state to let till it has undergone repair. My Aunt Woodgate 
has lately been very ill, & is still in a weak languid state, which has prevented our 
seeing my Uncle & talking over this business with him. We find our new Neighbours 
at the Grove very agreable ; their family consists of three grown up daughters 
(pleasing accomplished young women) & two Httle boys at School. 

On Saturday last Maryanne & myself dined at Wilderness with Sir Alexdr, 
Ly. & Miss Crichton, Mr. & Mrs. John Austen & Mr. Irving, which with their own 
family made a party of twelve, & we had a most agreable visit. In the evening 
Miss Crichton gratified the party with some musick. She sang several French, 
Spanish o: Italian airs & her performance was much admired. We were quite 
glad to meet cnr old friend Mr. Irving. He came up to attend the Funeral of the 
late Venerable Archdeacon of Rochester. Mr. Irving's family has lately been 
increased by the addition of another daughter. Our friends at Greatness are gone 
to Tonbridge to-day to be present at the Christening of Dr. Knox's youngest little 
boy, to whom Mr. Nouaille is to be a Sponsor. On Thursday Anne Nouaille is going 
to Nizells to pass a week with Mrs. CornwaDis. Mr. & Mrs. West & Fanny Woodgate 
kindly came up & spent the morning with us yesterday. They are all quite weU